OPINION: Ways around everything, including cannabis

EVEN the Nats have climbed aboard the bandwagon. Seeing the inevitability of reform, the party advertised this week that it supported the Baird initiatives to legalise medical cannabis.

Employing the fatuous jargon favoured by managers and pollies the world over, the Nats' headline claim is that they are "delivering cannabis research".

Well, good on the "country party" - although Victoria's leaders have stolen their thunder, with plans to make the state the first to cultivate and sell the healing herb.

But the people are way ahead of them all: Anyone who wants to can obtain - in our region at least - a high quality, possibly organic, dope product to help with their ailments.

They couldn't wait for bureaucracy - and Big Pharma - to catch up, and they don't need the mealy-mouthed controls that come with it.

They know it's safe and effective.

The little guy is fighting back elsewhere too, with the establishment of a "buyer's club" to import medicines to treat Hepatitis C - which at present afflicts a quarter of a million Australians (and nearly 200 million worldwide).

The owners of some of these new treatment protocols demand obscenely high prices for their product - and the sick are, well, sick of begging and jumping through hoops to deal with their deteriorating health.

People here now can organise their own medication, and for as little as $1000 have a shot at clearing the virus that often leads to cirrhosis and hepatic cancer - imposing a massive burden on the health system.

There are other positive changes in the wind, with plans to make codeine products available only on prescription.

I'm no fan of "prohibition" but I support such a move. Codeine is a narcotic, originally derived from opium, and therefore a drug of abuse and addiction.

In combination with paracetamol or ibuprofen it can cause terrible damage to the body: Ulcers and liver damage.

But the best news of the week is a post-drugs story.

One evening a crowd of us partied at Byron's Main Beach to celebrate a friend's freedom from active addiction.

Just over a year ago, S fled the ice-ravaged streets of Moree for treatment in the balmy, healing air of the Far North Coast.

In that time she has blossomed, become the open-faced, smiley, beautiful young woman she was meant to be.

Smart, funny, and with a fine line in eloquent profanity, she will touch other addicts, help save lives.

It's a joy to behold.

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