Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How long does it take the Central Drug Authority to do research?

In 1999 South Africa adopted the first National Drug Master Plan. The plan required the CDA to conduct research into the decriminalisation of cannabis:

"There has been much debate regarding the issue of whether or not fewer drug-related offences, such as the possession or use of cannabis, will or should be legalised. However, the issue of decriminalisation needs to be researched thoroughly to establish whether this is the way the matter should be dealt with in South Africa."

In 2002 the CDA appointed "Dr" Lee Da Rocha Silva, Prof Dorothy Malaka and "drug recognition expert" Christo Mynhardt were appointed to the abovementioned research. Their effort resulted in the 2004 South Africa Cannabis Position Paper which was never released.

On  6 September 2011 Ms Robinson from the DA asked what the “cannabis paper” revealed and how many deaths per year could be attributed to cannabis.

Dr Eberlein said that the CDA would look into ring fencing; regarding the cannabis paper, he said it was not finalized yet as there had been a change of attitude abroad: in the USA, 140 thousand people were using cannabis legally. There was a shift in thinking and a move in certain countries to legalise and decriminalize cannabis. He replied that it was difficult to determine the deaths per annum as death certificates did not reflect the deaths as a result of drugs due to sensitivity for the surviving family.
On the 6 November 2012 Ms Mafolo asked why the paper on cannabis was not published as mentioned in its report.

Mr Bayever replied that the author of that paper had passed away, so the paper had been put back as a recommendation for the CDA to look at again.

On 3 June 2013 Mr David Bayever, CDA Deputy Chairperson, said that cannabis paper had been started in 2002 but the difficulty was that there had been new information. Internationally cannabis had been allowed for medicinal purposes.  It was decided to rewrite the paper taking into account the new evidence that had come up. This was an initiative that the research wing of the CDA would take up.

On 20 August 2013  the Social Developlment Committee of Parliament noted the explanation provided by the CDA that the delays the finalisation of the cannabis paper which had been due to the ever changing ingredients used to manufacture this drug, which made it difficult for scientists to develop an appropriate therapeutic treatment.

On the 9th and 10th of April 2015 the Central Drug Authority hosted the Cannabis Round Table at which the country's "experts" discussed cannabis. Not one delegate mentioned the outstanding research of the CDA. What was the upshot of the conference?
  • It is necessary to commission a position paper for the country on cannabis use and abuse, informed by international, national and regional developments. The position paper should be strictly evidence-based. The National Drug Master Plan which guides the country on the use and abuse of substances should be the foundation of the position paper.
As you can see. We're back where we started!!! 1999-2016 RIP CDA

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