AG calls for more drug research

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite is calling on the relevant agencies to bring the hard evidence relating to the impact of both legal and illegal drugs on Barbadian youth.

Speaking this morning at a consultation of national stakeholders for the formulation of a national anti-drug plan for 2017 to 2021,  Brathwaite cautioned against jumping on the bandwagon as it pertained to the regulation of recreational drugs.

He contended that at the moment both sides of the recreational drug use argument had only anecdotal evidence specific to Barbados, stressing that without actual statistics, arguments for the institution of the breathalyzer, for example, could be shot down by those wishing for the status quo to remain.

“We need to stop all this anecdotal information and carry out some serious research in terms of the cost to this country for the abuse of legal substances such as alcohol and illegal substances like marijuana. One cannot argue against the breathalyzer test but yet you would hear in some quarters asking where is the evidence that people are getting into accidents because of alcohol consumption. You don’t have any statistics coming from the hospital, you just hear that on Saturday mornings or on bank holidays there seem to be accidents,” Brathwaite told those gathered at the Savannah Beach Hotel in Hastings, Christ Church for the consultation.

He also stressed that the same level of fact gathering was necessary as Barbados contemplated whether or not marijuana use should be legalized.

Referencing the state of Colorado in the United States, as well as Jamaica, he explained that countries which had gone the route of decriminalizing the drug were reporting contrasting social and economic impacts.

“As a country and as minister responsible for the NCSA [National Council on Substance Abuse] ours is not to respond to the most emotive or loudest of voices. Ours is to respond and ensure that whatever decision we make, redounds to the benefit of the majority of the citizens of this country. So if there is a role for medicinal marijuana then let’s examine it and then make that determination.

“However we cannot and should not jump on any bandwagon. The minister of health in Jamaica just last week spoke to the fact that they would need to relook at what has happened in Jamaica because more and more young people are turning up with psychiatric and other issues and they are seeing an upsurge in the use of marijuana. So in his words they have created a significant public health issue. I do not wish that for Barbados,” the Attorney General said.

6 Responses to AG calls for more drug research

  1. Hal Austin January 19, 2017 at 3:09 am

    There is no need for legalising marijuana. The call is to decriminalise the drug, which is not the same.
    There is also an economic case, that by decriminalising the drug the state will be able to impose a tax on its sales and, by so doing, it will drive out the big drug gangs.
    Some states have seen the need for change and although we must not necessarily follow the herd, it is important to give alternative views serious consideration. We cannot make policy in a bunker.
    First, this new attitude must be reflected in the courts and with the police.
    In terms of research, scientists must be given a free hand to explore the medical potential of all our flora and fauna and not be hindered by reactionary magistrates pushing back.

    Reply
  2. Sandra Madea
    Sandra Madea January 19, 2017 at 8:55 am

    What more research he want smoke some and see….. stupseeee.

    Reply
  3. Tony Webster January 19, 2017 at 11:55 am

    @Hal….I gine pass on this one, as I don’t have the full facts/ picture. What I can say for a fact, that c.1992, whilst relieving for our Dominica manager, A yute walked straight into the SIDE of my slowly-moving car in Roseau; bounced-back; picked himself and his glazed eyes up; dusted himself off; and was then thoroughly cursed by a bystander who then said to me: ” Doan worry to call police , Sir, he brain long-done burn-out wid weed, and de police tired of he. Sorry bout dat, Sir, and have a nice day”. I gave him my name, just in case, and departed. No police ever called me. The youth was about 17-18 years old, and the good Roseau citizen, was not at all proud of him. Thank God, he was not in control of a speeding ZR.
    Granted, youths-and adults-also get intoxicated on hard liquor. I know ’bout dat, and it is now a ( very) distant friend on mine!

    Reply
  4. Lee January 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    @Hal Austin;
    Decriminalizing only removes (or reduces) penalties to the end user. The production and transport remains illegal and profitable. This is where violence, corruption etc. comes in.
    Complete legalization (the common sense approach) is what allows for regulation and taxation.
    @Tony Webster;
    Were you given an assessment, by a relevantly qualified professional, as to the mental health of the “yute” and any contributing factors?

    Reply
  5. Peter Thompson January 19, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Instead of relying on rumour, inuendo and hearsay, why not learn from the experience and hard evidence of Portugal, where marijuana was decriminalised in 2001?
    Greenwald, Glenn (2 April 2009). “Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies” (pdf). Cato Institute.

    Reply
  6. Peter Thompson January 19, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    “Since Portugal enacted its decriminalization
    scheme in 2001, drug usage in many categories
    has actually decreased when measured
    in absolute terms, whereas usage in other categories
    has increased only slightly or mildly.
    None of the parade of horrors that decriminalization
    opponents in Portugal predicted,
    and that decriminalization opponents around
    the world typically invoke, has come to pass. In
    many cases, precisely the opposite has happened,
    as usage has declined in many key categories
    and drug-related social ills have been far
    more contained in a decriminalized regime.”

    Reply

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