Sellman on cannabis and alcohol

April 15th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Doug Sellman writes:

The days of cannabis prohibition in New Zealand appear to be coming to an end. Peter Dunne is reflecting a change in public attitudes towards cannabis that is gathering momentum.

The brave admissions by Helen Kelly and others about their illegal use of cannabis for medical purposes has helped reignite public discussion about cannabis law in general.

Drugs, including alcohol, are here to stay – our job is to get better at managing them as a society. Declaring war is a failed strategy, which needs to be replaced by scientifically based harm-reduction approaches.

I agree with this.

Excessive harm is caused at both ends of the continuum, where big business flourishes, one within the law and the other outside of it. Both share the goal of profit maximisation from supplying and selling as much of their drug as possible.

Sellman is basically comparing alcohol companies to illegal drug gangs.

Behind the scenes, however, alcohol corporates target new young customers, avoid paying tax, schmooze politicians, and attempt to denigrate those who point out their devious tactics.

The organised criminal cannabis suppliers also flagrantly target the young and avoid paying tax, but they don’t try to pretend they are anything but gangsters making money out of drug dealing.

So alcohol corporates are gangsters!

Leaving recreational drugs in the hands of big business, without very strong regulation, is a recipe for harm maximisation.

We do have very strong regulation around alcohol. Almost every aspect of the industry is regulated.

Lobbying of our parliamentarians may already be under way by business leaders salivating at the new fortunes they anticipate reaping. This is especially so since the dramatic changes in the United States where four states now have laws allowing private businesses to supply and sell cannabis.

There are alternatives to a private business model, one of which is the establishment of state-owned enterprises.

Government monopolies of retail sales of alcohol exist in Scandinavia and are documented as a highly effective harm reduction intervention for alcohol .

Sellman wants the state to take over the alcohol industry. Every pub, hotel and bottle store in NZ must be owned by the Government. I can’t think of anything more dreadful.

Group 1 carcinogens

July 2nd, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Thomas Lumley at Stats Chat blogs a quote from Professor Doug Sellman:

The ethanol in alcohol is a group one carcinogen, like asbestos

Now I have to say I had no idea what a group one carcinogen is, but Prof Sellman makes it sound like something very very nasty and fatal.

Prof Lumley explains:

Many of the readers of this story won’t know what a “group one carcinogen” is.  Given the context, a reader might well assume that “group one carcinogens” are those that carry the largest risks of cancer, or cause the most serious cancers. In fact, all it means is that an additional hazard of cancer, whether high or low, has been definitely established, because that’s all the IARC review process tries to do.

So it is a fancy name for some risk, not high risk.

Some group 1 carcinogens, such as tobacco and hepatitis B, are responsible for large numbers of cancer deaths worldwide. Others, such as plutonium and diethylstilbestrol, are responsible only for small numbers of deaths. Some group 1 carcinogens cause aggressive, untreatable tumours; for others, such as human papillomavirus, disease is largely preventable by screening; still others, such as sunlight, sometimes cause serious disease but mostly cause relatively minor tumours.

The phrase “group one carcinogen” is only relevant in an argument over whether the risk is zero or non-zero. Its use in other contexts suggests that someone doesn’t know what it means, or perhaps hopes that you don’t.

I am sure Prof Sellman knows exactly what it means.

All the fault of Big Alcohol and the supermarkets

May 10th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Sellman Letter on Aaron Gilmoreon


So Professor Sellman says it is all the fault of Big Alcohol who have been brainwashing Aaron since he was 15 years old to buy alcohol. This is the fault also of the supermarkets for placing alcohol next to the fruit and veges.

Somewhat obsessive I say.


May 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Professor Doug Sellman of Alcohol Action recently met with two representatives of the Brewers Association to discuss initiatives to reduce alcohol related harm. The two reps were executive director Jenny Cameron and the (male) president of the Brewer’s Guild.

Professor Sellman wrote an article for NZ Doctor on their meeting. It is embedded below. Now bear in mind this is an article by a medical professional for NZ Doctor about a health issue. So what does he say:

We met at Christchurch’s Boatsheds Café, just across the Avon River from the National Addiction Centre. Ms Cameron and her colleague had arrived a little early. When they approached me at the entrance, I did a momentary double take. Her strikingly attractive appearance transported me back to the times when I was still agreeing to meet big Pharma drug reps at the clinic

So he focuses on the appearance of Ms Cameron and feels the need to share with the world she is “strikingly attractive”. Her male companion doesn’t even rate a mention.

I felt sad that such a talented and vibrant person, hailing from heartland New Zealand, had been taken in by Big Booze and was gearing up so enthusiastically to repeat all the same hollow and deceptive arguments we have heard for decades. Ms Cameron has the charm and intelligence to be a very effective government relations advisor

Talented, vibrant, charm, intelligence. It is almost as if the Professor had a wee crush. If only he could lure her away from the dark side!

I’m somewhat surprised that NZ Doctor thought an article on the “striking attractiveness” and “talent, vibrancy, charm and intelligence” of Ms Cameron was deemed appropriate for a medical publication. Maybe they hope to become the official journal of Mad Men!

NZ Doctor by David Farrar

Bob Jones on coroners

February 20th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Bob Jones writes in the NZ Herald regard the Coroner saying coke should have warning labels:

We read this sort of coroner guff frequently following unusual deaths in which, not content to simply do their job and officially state the cause of death, they instead ignore the extreme oddity of the circumstances and ascribe them to the community at large.

A circus elephant escapes, runs amok and tramples someone to death and the coroner will urge that the government makes us all build elephant-proof fences. A 158kg woman rolls over in bed in a drunken stupor and crushes to death her ex-jockey husband. This actually happened in Tasmania in the late 1980s.

Coroner Crear presumably would urge the government to ban jockeys and other small males sleeping with fat women, or alternatively, that fat women have a warning sign tattooed on their buttocks. In short, coroners too often fail to recognise freak accidents as simply that, namely freak.

Heh, so true.

Older readers will remember George Wilder who delighted us all with his prison escapes. Who can forget his escape from a Taranaki prison when the army was called in from Waiouru to assist prison officers and police searching for him on the central plateau where he had been spotted. Because they occasionally ran across hikers, at day’s end the searchers were shown a photo of George. “That bugger was here all day in the search party”, they all shouted, but too late, George had slipped off into the night.

George wasn’t publicly perceived as a villain, rather he was viewed as an addiction victim for his obsession with taking cars, riding about in them for half an hour then leaving them unharmed. He simply couldn’t stop himself despite endless court warnings. Coroner Crear would doubtless blame the car manufacturers and Professor Sellman would want cars added to the addictive substances list.

Highly likely! They always blame the company.

Zealotry exposed

August 30th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Supermarkets are drug “pushers” who are selling high quantities of discounted wine and should be viewed the same as dealers dishing out Ecstasy pills or morphine.

It may seem extreme but it’s a view that Professor Doug Sellman, director of the National Addiction Centre and spokesman for the Alcohol Action Group, is taking quite seriously.

Need more be said. Alcohol Action are not the voice of a balanced group. It is an extreme voice, pushing policies that few New Zealanders would agree with. Sadly, it seems to be the group that the Law Commission gave the most weight to.

Experts do not understand it is about a balance

August 20th, 2010 at 6:26 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

There is compelling international evidence that increasing the legal alcohol purchasing age reduces harm and saves lives, a United States professor and alcohol expert has told MPs.

Yes it does. Putting the purchase age up to 30 would save lives. So would putting it up to 40. Banning spirits would save live. Bannign motor cars would reduce the road toll.

Any moron can come up with a list of measures to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. A group of seven year olds could probably do so as a class exercise. But they all miss the point.

The point they all miss, is what impact does this have on adult New Zealanders and their ability to have a drink without causing harm.

The arrogance of some of these experts is best characterised by this quote from Professor Doug Sellman:

“So, even though the science points strongly to the four key actions described above, our leaders could very well allow ideology to trump science. This brings to mind political regimes we tend to look down on with great disapproval.”

Sellman’s taxpayer funded lobby group has demanded that everything they recommend must be implemented by the Government, without question. f not, then it means we are some sort of third world country or dictatorship.

What fucking arrogance.

I encourage Professor Sellman to go form a political party, and campaign on his agenda. Once he wins  general election, he can lecture us on what the Government must do.

Sellman is like many zealots in this field. They think it is only about the “science”, They don’t realise it is also about rights of New Zealanders.

Personally I am glad we have a Government that doesn’t give the zealots a veto on policy. That actually thinks adult New Zealanders have certain rights.