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Marijuana, ‘low hanging fruit’ of decriminalizing opioid drug, says Yale expert

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KUALA LUMPUR, August 5 – Efforts to decriminalize some drug offenses in Malaysia should include adult use and possession of marijuana and opioids, Professor Frederick Altes, founder of the Yale School of Medicine’s Prison HIV Program, said.

Dr. AltesAny effort to decriminalize drugs would mean decriminalizing decriminalization from “things that can be treated,” said a clinical epidemiologist at Yale University in the US.

“Alcohol is treatable. Opiates are treatable. Amphetamines are going to be a problem here, stimulants are tough, and it’s also associated with violent things. This is where rubber will hit the road in Malaysia. For us (in the US), it’s cocaine. This is our stimulant, Dr. Altes said blue icon In an hour-long interview here in Kuala Lumpur last June.

“So I would say opioids are really easy. For marijuana, people don’t hurt anyone you know. They don’t break major laws. They get softer, whether it’s relaxation or whatever. But we have things that can be cured.”

“I think steroids are going to be somewhat of a problem, so our treatments are very expensive. It’s more expensive than other methadones, it costs six cents a day, and it’s the cheapest treatment. I mean, I can’t handle anything else at that price.”

“So I suppose we kind of have to prioritize — pick the hanging fruit, do it, study it, rate it, move on to the next kind of thing. You don’t have to fix everything. You have to have a plan to fix everything, but You can do it gradually.”

Opioids It is a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant and works in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including pain relief. Opioids can be prescription drugs often referred to as pain relievers or in the form of “street” drugs, such as heroin.

In Malaysia, heroin remains the main illicit drug used. Methadone maintenance therapy, or methadone replacement therapy, was established in 2005 as a harm reduction program for opioid addicts.

Replacement therapy aims to replace more effective drugs such as heroin with prescription drugs of similar effect with a lower level of addiction and craving.

Amphetamines They are stimulant drugs. They make messages between a person’s brain and body move faster, making them more alert and physically active.

trance It is an empathogen drug containing methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), an amphetamine derivative. The effects of ecstasy are similar to amphetamines, such as feelings of energy, euphoria and an increased heart rate.

Empathogens are a class of psychoactive drugs that stimulate feelings of empathy and emotional openness.

The term “MarijuanaIt is often used interchangeably with cannabis, a type of plant in the cannabis family. In the United States, marijuana legally refers to cannabis that contains more than 0.3 percent THC, one of the psychoactive chemicals found in the cannabis plant Which produces a “high rate”.

Drug policies in Malaysia have historically been based on harsh punitive measures, including the arrest and imprisonment of users and the use of the death penalty for trafficking offences.

However, in recent years, the government has become more open to addressing the country’s drug epidemic through a public health approach rather than a criminal justice approach.

In 2019, the former Minister of Health Zulkifli Ahmed announce Federal plans to remove criminal penalties for possession and use of a small amount of drugs for personal use. Drug trafficking, however, is still a crime.

under current laws anyone found in possession of 200 grams of hashish, 40 grams of cocaine, and 15 grams of heroin or morphine could be charged with drug smuggling – an offense punishable by the mandatory death penalty. about two thirds of more than 68,000 inmates in Malaysian prisons there after being convicted of drug possession.

Earlier this year, the current Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin Post a review of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952 and the Poisons Act of 1952 to regulate the medical use of marijuana and ketome.

Ministry of Health (MOH) also insert frame Later this year to register prescription drugs containing cannabidiol (CBD). Khairy stressed that the framework would only apply to prescription CBD, not for self-medication or recreational use.

There is currently no registered treatment containing CBD in Malaysia Current legislation does not prohibit The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

blue icon Previously mentioned The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) confirmed approval of a prescription drug derived from cannabis in 2014 to treat muscle spasms and spasticity from multiple sclerosis.

Despite its approval, Sativex – an oral mucosal spray of cannabis extract with CBD and THC, the psychoactive chemical ingredient in cannabis – was withdrawn from the Malaysian market after three years because it was not commercially viable. Sativex was developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, a manufacturer of cannabis treatments based in Ireland.

All over the world, attitudes toward hemp or marijuana have been gradually turns as governments of Mexico to me New Zealand Consider relaxing their laws to allow the drug to be used either medically, recreationally, or both.

in the United States, 38 states They approved medical marijuana to varying degrees, while 18 states and Washington, DC They agreed to use recreational cannabis.

Drug prisoners are eight times more likely to die a year after their release

For drug-addicted individuals who go to prison, Dr. Altes said they are eight times more likely to die in the year following their release than those who have the same risk factors but have never been incarcerated.

Dr. Altis, who has conducted extensive studies on substance abuse and infectious diseases involving vulnerable populations, including prisoners and sex workers, said in Malaysia.

“Let’s just say I use heroin, I use it every day, I develop a tolerance – I can tolerate more and more.

“So let’s just say you have a bag of heroin, and you do 10 bags of heroin before you go in. You go to prison, you detox, and they do nothing. Your tolerance goes down. Then you leave (the prison). When you restart again, you won’t Your body gets used to it, and you will break.

This is one of the reasons why people living with HIV – if they do not receive treatment in prison, their health deteriorates. So they’ve spent two years in prison without treatment, and their T cells are deteriorating. In fact, they are at risk of death due to the lack of access to treatment. So these are all factors. So this interruption, people take out.

“Then the other thing that happens is that the people who leave prison, the people they used to buy drugs from, the people they spend time with, their families, their networks, their support networks are all disrupted. All of this comes to play,” Dr. Altes said.

T cells These are white blood cells that are part of the immune system. T cells help protect the body from infection and may help fight cancer. One indicator of HIV infection is the progressive loss of CD4 T cells. CD4 T cells. They are considered “helper” cells because they do not neutralize infection but instead stimulate the body’s response to infection.

“I think the justice system has been damaged by the way things have been arranged. So you usually have the Ministry of Justice or the law that handles prisons and the Ministry of Health that handles health matters. But there is a gray area where there is an expectation that the prison administration that has no money for health You will.

“They don’t have the resources, they don’t have pharmacies, they don’t have any of that. And the health system says, ‘Oh, we’ll help you with that.'” But in reality, it’s not happening because the prison is supposed to do it.

“So it’s like you’re cutting into another territory. Basically, it’s been forgotten about, so everyone thinks the other person is supposed to.

“So when you talk to people in the justice system, they are very committed to getting help, but their hands are tied because they are not a healthcare delivery program.

“And then you have the healthy people like, Oh, I can’t go to jail. This is a dangerous place or, you know, you have to send your people to my clinic, which is unrealistic.”

“So that balance between health and safety, there’s tension there, and you have to redefine your systems, so that those systems come together,” Dr. Altes said.

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