OVOM Statement on ‘Harm Reduction’
The term `Harm Reduction’ is not accepted by the OVOM network, nor are the principles that underpin harm reduction, as we do not support any practices that give the wrong signals and keep the drug user addicted. This can perpetuate danger to themselves and others around them.
The principles of `Harm reduction’ are used in some countries as a drug policy; however, in practice, it means accepting drug use that gives not only incorrect signals but enables drug use. Selling, growing and manufacturing drugs, handing out needles and the use of methadone are examples of so called ‘harm reduction’ practices. They are, in effect, promoting more harm by condoning drug use, creating a destructive lifestyle and damaging health impacts to millions of people, families and society. In fact, such enabling practices contravene the international commitments and national laws which are based on the International United Nations Drug Control Conventions.
If OVOM were to use the term, `Harm Reduction’, we would simply be imitating the propaganda of the drug liberal movement at all levels which is clearly unacceptable.
The official meaning of Harm Reduction in the health field, used in many hospitals where people in palliative care get help, is in order to relieve their pain. It has nothing to do with drug policies.
There are no sound grounds in public health for harm reduction when treating people who use drugs, as they: fail to address the real needs of the individual user – that is to ‘stop using’ and to be ‘clean of narcotics’; fail the user’s family and fail society as a whole.
Treating drug epidemics by accepting and regulating illegal drugs, is like fighting malaria by hunting mosquitos. It can keep a lot of people employed but is useless!
How Harm Reduction failed a country
Australia adopted `Harm Reduction’ as its official drug policy in 1985 and saw opiate deaths roughly triple by 1999. At that time the Federal Government introduced ‘Tough on Drugs’, a policy that put its emphasis on drug prevention and rehabilitation while maintaining the harm reduction interventions already in place. This policy saw a 39% decrease in illicit drug use overall, with cannabis use reducing by 50%, Ice and Speed reducing by 46%, and heroin by 75%. Opiate deaths were reduced by 68% by 2007. These excellent results could have been even better without the underlying harm reduction philosophy still running interference.
OVOM statement on ´Medical Marijuana´ also called `Medical Pot´
The term `Medical Marijuana,´ also called `Medical Pot´is not accepted by the OVOM network. There is no such thing as medical marijuana – only cannabinoid products like Epidiolex, Marinol, Cesamet are approved by the FDA and other Western regulators as a medicine and prescribed by doctors.
`Medical marijuana´ is used in some countries and called drug policy but is big business. The selling, growing and manufacturing drugs from marijuana is misleading people. They are, in effect, promoting what is a dangerous and otherwise illegal drug which endangers millions of people, families and society. A scientific summary of just three of its specific dangers appears in the box immediately below. In fact the sale and promotion of crude marijuana which contains 400 chemicals puts patients at significant risk for infections, mental and respiratory problems, compromised immune system and death. Using it medically, as some suggest, is 18th century medicine.
According to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations 1961, each country must produce an annual report on how much narcotics it needs for medical and scientific use and research, (which is legal) followed the next year by assessment of how much was actually used. All sale and promotion of illicit drugs for pleasure, under the guise of medicine, is forbidden, outrageous and damaging.
OVOM advocates strongly for no use of illegal drugs and no illegal use of legal drugs.
Just some amongst the many debilitating effects of cannabis used medicinally or recreationally.
Psychosis – Cannabis has long been established as causal in psychoses and schizophrenia with a recent Kings College study suggesting that use of high-THC cannabis is causal in 30% of all new psychosis cases in London, and 50% of new cases in Amsterdam. Extensive population studies are now confirming what decades of research into the physiological effects of cannabis have found where some will be passed down generationally and are the result of cannabis use by BOTH the mother and the father.
Cancers – a recently published study found that cannabis is likely causal in 27 different types of cancer as compared to just 14 for tobacco. Cannabidiol, which is largely regarded as benign, is shown to be likely causal for 12 cancers, including breast cancer. Cannabis has also been linked to a majority of pediatric cancers.
Birth defects – another recent population study using European data found that cannabis is causal in 89 of 95 birth defects tracked across those countries. Specific studies have linked cannabis to autism and also to limblessness, where French areas cultivating large cannabis crops are experiencing bovine and human newborn limblessness at 60 times that of background. Medicinal cannabis preparations often seek concentrations as high or higher than recreational use.
AALM POSITION ON MARIJUANA USED AS A “MEDICINE”
AALM only recognizes medicines that are produced and distributed with standard best-practice pharmaceutical protocols and that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Unless a marijuana/cannabis product (including CBD) has been approved for marketing as a medicine by the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), it is neither safe or effective and puts patients at risk if it is intended “for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and/or because they are intended to affect the structure or any function of the body.”
When a medicine’s benefits outweigh its known risks, the FDA considers it “safe” enough to approve.
A drug is “effective” within meaning of FDCA if there is general recognition among experts, founded on substantial evidence, that the drug in fact produces results claimed for it under prescribed conditions.
Marijuana products sold as medicines or treatments or marijuana infused food or supplements not approved by the FDA are black-market and are illegally trafficked and sold.
AALM does not agree with applying the term “medical” when it comes to these black-market products that are not approved by the FDA. We consider black-market marijuana or CBD marketing and sales as illicit drug dealing.
The sale and dispensing of marijuana even when approved by medical care providers or state law should not be done unless there is FDA approval. Scientific evidence, research, double blind studies and FDA approval determine what is and is not medicine.
The US Surgeon General has stated that “There is no such thing as “medical” marijuana” unless and until it has been approved by the FDA.” We oppose “legalizing” any of these products not previously approved by the FDA.
For more information www.aalm.info POB 158 Carmichael, CA 95609 Phones 916-708-4111, 619-990-7480