Today is World Mental Health Day. At lunchtime today I went to a very positive event that launched a new ‘pathway’ of support services for those with high support needs. These services are provided by Southdown Housing, Sanctuary Support and Brighton Housing Trust, funded by Brighton and Hove City Council and the Brighton and Hove Clinical Care Group.
Having been inspired by what I heard, I was so disappointed to read in today’s Brighton Argus (10th October 2014) that Lewes MP, Norman Baker, is proposing to tackle crime by legalising cannabis. I personally hope he is singularly unsuccessful in this.
When, in 2004, the last government foolishly reduced the classification of cannabis from Class B to Class C, consumption increased significantly. A message had been given that the drug was safe. The decision to change the classification was reversed within five years.
A paper presented to the World Health Organisation earlier this month, based on a 20 year study, highlighted the highly addictive nature of cannabis. It warned that cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.
Cannabis users do worse at school and, according to this study, heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development.
Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of road traffic accidents, and this risk increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink.
Legalising cannabis will not tackle drug abuse, only increase it.