Petition update

Invitation: Medicinal Cannabis Symposium

Lucy Haslam
Tamworth, Australia

May 31, 2017 — What a disappointing few weeks for medicinal cannabis patients…… first the good news….some (almost reluctant) recognition from a leading Victorian Paediatric Neurologist that the Cannabis trials for children with Dravet Syndrome (an intractable form of epilepsy) have had a significant measure of success. For these very sick children, even using a product which is seen by many purists as less than ideal, there have been significant improvements.

Then we saw the sensationalist reporting on channel seven Sunday Night program about a child receiving cannabis treatment. The cannabis was a small part of a complex dynamic but the predominant focus of the program was on the fact that a child could be given THC and become ‘high”. Not a hint of discussion about the science behind therapeutic use of THC/CBC, not a mention of the harmful effects of the pharmaceutical products which also cause patients to get an undesirable “stoned” effect along with many non-reversible and very harmful side effects.…..just sensationalist reporting that painted a very ugly picture of patients using cannabis and uglier still the people who are providing it.

The reality is that patients are in the stranglehold of the flourishing black market because the Australian Government has failed to produce public policy which meets the needs of patients. It has been more focussed on meeting the needs of the Pharmaceutical Industry via the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the doctors who wilfully ignore their patients by failing to become interested yet alone educated about Cannabis. This is reflected in the current statistics before the senate estimates committee which demonstrated such a low number of patients receiving government approval. (150 patients in total). This makes no sense to me when I know that there are thousands who would prefer to use Cannabis legitimately and lawfully. Where is the disconnect?

Why does the Government not acknowledge that they have not produced a good outcome for our sick?

The TGA (John Skerrit) says “we can’t write these things (applications by doctors to become authorised prescribers) ourselves” yet they have done nothing to assist or encourage doctors to prescribe. Then there is the TGA advice to the Government as the Courier Mail reported……The TGA “was urgently dispatched to Parliament House to urge the crossbench to intervene to stop the move to undo tough drug regulations.”. Thank you TGA for your part in preventing the terminally ill from being able to access Cannabis for their end of life care. Very compassionate of you!

The doctors have been given negative messages by the Government (and TGA) from day one and the vocal conservative element who include several pain specialists / opiate prescribers like Professor Milton Cohen subsequently state that the pain faculty is urging doctors not to prescribe. Add to that …..the Federal Health Minister and his blatant public scaremongering (via the Courier Mail) which was remnant of something from the Reefer Madness era “It would have opened the way for personal importation through our airports of hashish and other products that are unsafe, unregulated and even deadly.” What absolute rubbish.

In case you don’t realise, the Health Minister was referring to terminally ill patients getting a prescription from their doctor to access a product to assist them with their quality of life (at the end of their life). Hardly opening the floodgates to a product which is already the most widely used illicit drug in the world.

So, what is my point?

United in Compassion is providing a unique opportunity for doctors, TGA, bureaucrats, Government, and the general public to understand more about medicinal Cannabis at the 2017 UIC Medicinal Cannabis Symposium in Melbourne on the 23rd , 24th , and 25th June. We are also providing a one day training session for doctors on the 22 nd June, also in Melbourne.

The invites have gone out….the Health Minister has not replied, The Labor Party (Bill Shorten) and the Greens (Richard Di Natale) have accepted. It will be interesting to follow who turns up to learn from our International medical and scientific peers from USA and Israel. Will your doctor be there so he can do what is best for you?

Please share this information about the Symposium….opportunities like this do not come along often and unless the politics is replaced by the science, Australian patients are going to have to be content with the black market for a long while yet. The multimillion dollar organisations investing in Cannabis in Australia will be supplying the worlds patients with Australian grown cannabis but it will be minus Australian patients. The Australian patients will be stuck with unregulated, possibly contaminated products sold to them by goodness knows. But they will continue to do so because for many it means relief from pain, spasm and seizures. It means quality of life when other products have failed….it is that important.

Consider supporting sick Australians by coming along and learning more. Australian doctors don’t know what they don’t know. Encourage them to learn and then see if they still would prefer to prescribe opiates and benzos and turn their backs on patients who are desperate for their help and support.

Symposium information including a program can be found at http://www.unitedincompassion.com.au/

Lucy Haslam


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