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OfflinemotamanM
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The Rising Toll of Cannabis Users on Psychiatric Wards
    #4506597 - 08/07/05 12:24 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

http://www.rednova.com/news/health/199549/the_rising_toll_of_cannabis_users_on_psychiatric_wards/

The Rising Toll of Cannabis Users on Psychiatric Wards

THE number of cannabis users being admitted to hospital with mental illnesses has risen dramatically since the drug's criminal status was downgraded, it was revealed yesterday.

Health service figures show a 22 per cent leap in admissions blamed directly on the drug last year the same year police stopped routinely arresting those caught with cannabis.

The startling figures add to the growing weight of evidence linking cannabis use to mental illness in particular schizophrenia.

They brought fresh demands from medical authorities yesterday for a reversal of the law which saw the criminal status of cannabis downgraded from Class B to C.

One of the country's leading experts on addiction psychiatry, Professor Colin Drummond of St George's Medical School in London, said: 'It is notable that this (rise in hospital admissions) has followed the change in the classification of cannabis.

The public has taken its lead from the Government.' The figures were revealed yesterday by Health Minister Rosie Winterton in response to an inquiry by Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn.

Mr Flynn, a longstanding advocate of the legalisation of cannabis, had asked for evidence on whether use of the legal drug khat used largely by Somali and Ethiopian immigrants was a cause of mental illness.

Mrs Winterton provided him with new NHS figures saying nothing about khat but giving a breakdown of hospital mental health admissions brought about by other drugs.

The figures cover admissions 'with a primary diagnosis of a mental or behavioural disorder due to psychoactive substance abuse'. This means that they may only be the tip of the iceberg because they do not include many cases in which drugs were involved but were not recorded as the main cause of mental illness.

The figures showed that 710 people were sent to hospital because of mental illness caused by cannabis in the 12 months ending in April last year. That compared to 580 in both 2001-02 and 2002-03.

By contrast, admissions caused by abuse of other drugs fell in almost all cases. Heroin hospital cases were down two years running, and fell by more than 4 per cent in 2003-04.

Mental hospital admissions because of hallucinogens such as LSD remained steady across the two years, and admissions blamed on alcohol were down 4 per cent.

Apart from cannabis, only admissions blamed on cocaine rose significantly by 16 per cent in 2004 to 220.

In January last year cannabis became a Category C drug, possession of which attracts little police interest and leads to comparatively trivial punishments.

It was previously Category B, meaning anyone caught with it would face automatic arrest and a potential five-year jail sentence.

The change in the law was mooted by the then Home Secretary David Blunkett in 2001, approved by Government drug advisers in 2002, and foreshadowed by highly-publicised police experiments such as the decision to allow small-scale cannabis users to go free in Lambeth, South London.

But in March this year Home Secretary Charles Clarke called for a rethink on downgrading cannabis because of new evidence from New Zealand and Holland that it is linked to mental illness.

He has asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to advise on the growing availability of stronger forms of cannabis.

Professor Drummond, head of addiction psychiatry at St George's Medical School, added: 'There are more people willing to take cannabis now than in the past since the Government has signalled that it believes cannabis is not as dangerous as other drugs.

'The more people who take cannabis, the more people who are going to get into difficulties.' The Advisory Council is to deliver its report by the end of the year.

s.doughty@dailymail.co.uk



Source: Daily Mail; London (UK)


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Offlinedelta9
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Re: The Rising Toll of Cannabis Users on Psychiatric Wards [Re: motaman]
    #4507160 - 08/07/05 04:09 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Or maybe they only feel safe talking about it now?


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OfflineMikeOLogical
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Re: The Rising Toll of Cannabis Users on Psychiatric Wards [Re: delta9]
    #4508396 - 08/07/05 11:02 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

what a crock... this is the kind of statistical mumbo jumbo that keeps non-stoners perpetually ignorant of the harmlessness of cannabis...

what i find especially disturbing is the way the anti-drug people repeatedly insist that stronger pot is more dangerous...


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Offlinedelta9
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Re: The Rising Toll of Cannabis Users on Psychiatric Wards [Re: MikeOLogical]
    #4508907 - 08/08/05 01:13 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Stronger pot is bad because the inhaling of the plant matter is good for you :rolleyes:


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OfflineAlobar
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Re: The Rising Toll of Cannabis Users on Psychiatric Wards [Re: motaman]
    #4511661 - 08/08/05 09:47 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

I thought this was directly linked to the reduced penalties??many people are given the choice now between fines/jail time and "help." This help is provided by mental health institutions. Thus the increase of cannabis users in mental hospitals.

Am I pulling this out of my ass? Somebody throw me a bone...


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InvisibleMushmanTheManic
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Re: The Rising Toll of Cannabis Users on Psychiatric Wards [Re: Alobar]
    #4511819 - 08/08/05 10:21 PM (12 years, 1 month ago)

Correlation is not causation.


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Invisiblepsilomonkey
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Re: The Rising Toll of Cannabis Users on Psychiatric Wards [Re: motaman]
    #4513539 - 08/09/05 07:39 AM (12 years, 1 month ago)

This does make me a little concerned. Most small scale cannabis confiscations involve people smoking on the street. In my experience most of the people that smoke on the street are kids.

The author mentions khat but not the increased use of magic mushrooms that had become widely available in the UK in unlicensed head-shops and market stalls.

While there is no evidence of harm to an fully developed adult brain, I do question the safety of exposing a still physically developing brain to psychoactive substances on a regular basis.


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