Pic of the word XANAX with a stethoscope

Pic of the word XANAX with a stethoscope

By Richard Shrubb

There’s increasing evidence that cannabis legalisation can help reduce hard drug use. Yes, folks – that is the reverse of the ideologically led Gateway Drug theory where weed users end up dying in alleyways full of smack.

Weymouth again?

Last night Dorset Police announced a worrying trend of kids in Weymouth getting their hands on a sedative medication that’s available only on private prescription in the UK called Xanax. That really isn’t cool.

According to a drug hating website The Treatment Center “Xanax is a depressant that causes the body to relax. When taken with other depressants like marijuana or alcohol, users can experience intense lethargy and may suffer respiratory failure if they fall asleep while under the influence. Xanax is also extremely addictive, and many psychiatrists explore alternative anti-anxiety medication before prescribing Xanax.”

Yup. Kids could fall asleep and never wake up or worse, run that risk even more by getting hooked on it. Life will become an endless slog as they’re either stoned or working out how to get more of this pharmaceutical shit.

If Dorset Police eased off their pursuit of cannabis would this be a problem? The evidence is there to suggest probably not.

Cannabis alleviates US and Canada’s opiate problems

Photo of two boxes of Xanax made by Pfizer.

Elephant tranquilliser aka Xanax.

The US has an opiate crisis with Big Pharma working with authorities to get people hooked on pharmaceutical opiates and then when the docs see a problem and cutting their supply off, these hopeless addicts getting hold of black market scripts and often more cheaply, heroin and even the most dangerous opioid of all, Fentanyl. The drug dealer getting them hooked is not some stoned weed dealing hippy but a well-paid doctor.

Canada has long had a big medical cannabis programme. A 2017 survey of 271 respondents who were on the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) programme found, “high self-reported use of cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs (63%), particularly pharmaceutical opioids (30%), benzodiazepines (16%), and antidepressants (12%). Patients also reported substituting cannabis for alcohol (25%), cigarettes/tobacco (12%),” and other drugs (3%). This doesn’t say it stops you using heroin but rather that people steer towards a less harmful drug like cannabis given the opportunity.

In US states that legalised cannabis, rates of deaths from hard drug overdose fell significantly according to a 2014 paper. It reported, “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate (95% CI, −37.5% to −9.5%; P = .003) compared with states without medical cannabis laws. Examination of the association between medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose mortality in each year after implementation of the law showed that such laws were associated with a lower rate of overdose mortality that generally strengthened over time.”

Where cannabis is available, heroin and crack dealers go out of business. According to the US Reason Foundation, “While demand for marijuana has increased in states where it is legal, it appears to be displacing use for more-dangerous drugs—a welcome trade-off.”

Gateway drug? My arse

In writing this article I have left this idea until last. The theory is that cannabis users will end up dying of smack overdoses in alleyways. In light of what you’ve already read here, let’s spin this around: in only being able to access cannabis from illegal sources, so people are necessarily dealing with some pretty dodgy characters. Does that mean that drugs policy is leading people to trying heroin and in Weymouth’s case, Xanax?

Another way

I’m calling on Dorset Police to leave cannabis dealers alone. Only get them if they start dealing in other rubbish. The availability of cannabis would increase and kids won’t mess with Xanax.

I know Dorset is one of the smallest conservative counties in the UK with Feudal traits and in Weymouth’s case, even an MP Richard Drax who owns several tens of thousand acres of land his family bought when they were forced to sell their slaves. There are however radical problems in Weymouth where only radical solutions can resolve the problem simply because no other traditional way has worked. Wake up and smell the coffee!

Richard Shrubb

Richard is a marijuana, water sports and electric vehicles writer based in Dorchester, Dorset. Living in Prince Charles model housing estate, Poundbury, he is an avowed republican, community and Labour Party activist. Visit his website at www.richardshrubb.com for more about what he does.

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