A song to save a life.

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courtesy of the “Gazette”

By Erris Healy

28 year old Sarah Springett from Essex saved her boyfriend Paul Shepards life last year. The singer/songwriter donated her kidney to him after he was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy.
“IgA nephropathy is a kidney disorder that occurs when infection deffence protein settles in the kidney. Scientists do not know what causes IgA to form in the kidney. IgA causes permanent kidney damage which can lead to kidney failure. People with kidney failure need dialysis or a transplant.”- National kidney and urologic disease information clearinghouse.

Sarahs donation experience has inspired her to release a single titled “I hope you know.” Her single is in support of the first UK-wide organ donation campaign that was launched on November 3, 2009 by NHS blood and transplant. Each copy of Springettes single will include a link to the organ registration website and profits will be donated to the transplant trust. You can hear Sarah discussing the importance of becoming a donor, the need for more donors to sign up and her support for the campaign by visiting http://www.ihopeyouknow.co.uk.

Statistics from the NHS show that this year “977 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or kidney transplant.” Also a survey for kidney.org stated that, “more than two in nine people back organ donation but only one in five are actually on the register.” The same website gave a figure of 3,916 deaths a year are because of kidney failure-www.kidney.org

Yvonne MacFarlane, spokeswoman for the Scottish Government Health and Wellbeing office said,”The number of Scottish residents listed, as at November 8, 2009 awaiting an organ transplant is 663. The UK average waiting time to transplant in days is a heart=103 days, lung= 406 days, liver= 95 days and a kidney= 265 days. As you can see the waiting period is lengthy and a lot of people do not survive the wait.

If more people signed up the waiting time would be less. Sarah says, “watching Paul go through what he did was far worse than donating my kidney.” So, if Ms. Springettes story has inspired you or you are interested in becoming a donor, find out more at: http://www.orgondonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 1232323.
This Christmas you may just give someone a very special gift, you could give someone in need a second chance at life.

Cannabis controversy

By Erris Healy

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The Chief Drug Advisor for the government Professor David Nutt has been fired. Nutt declared that cannabis is actually less dangerous or addictive than alcohol or nicotine. This statement has caused outrage within the government as they recently reclassified cannabis from a class C to a class B to try and decrease its use.

As cannabis is now a class B drug this is putting it in the same category as drugs such as Amphetamines, Pholcodine and Ritalin all which are highly addictive.
If Nutt is correct and alcohol and cigarettes are evidently worse for your health then surely these substances should be included too if not even ranked higher.

Mr. Alan Johnson who fired Professor Nutt said “he has crossed the line”.
there are growing concerns over predicted resignation from the government advisory body. Nutts unfair dismissal has caused a lot of controversy. Two drug experts have already resigned. Dr. Les King for the Advisory Council on the misuse of Drugs said Nutts dismissal denied his right to ‘freedom of speech’ and since Kings resignation, Marion Walker, of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has also resigned for similar reasons.

This provoked resignation has put a lot of pressure on the government as these experts are vital to the governments actions involving drug legislation, classification and ultimately healthcare. It is feared that if the backlash of resignation continues it will not be long before the the department can not operate.

A spokesperson for the home office said ” the home secretary has expressed disappointment over Professor Nutts comments which damage efforts to give the public clear messages about the dangers of drugs.”

Cannabis is a serious issue in todays society. A survey from the TIS (tobacco information Scotland) showed “35% of 17-39 year olds had smoked cannabis at some point in their lives.” It also showed that “11% of 15 year olds reported that they had used cannabis in the last month.”
Nutt is correct. The first British person to die from Cannabis died in 2004. He has been the only victim reported to date. Dr. Philip Guy, a lecturer in addictions at the University of Hull said “To die from smoking cannabis is unheard of.”
when you compare this evidence to statistics from the office for national statistics which show ” The alcohol related death rate was 13.3% per 100,000 population in 2007. this had increased from 6.5% per 100,000 population in 1991.”

“We fully support the work of the ACMD and remain committed to considering the independent advice and evidence it and other visionary bodies provide to the government. However the clear role of the Chair of the ACMD is to provide independent scientific advice and not to lobby for changes in policy.”-Alan Johnsons response.

Johson is clearly concerned for the publics health and does not want to relax the image of cannabis. Was sacking Nutt a step too far? if the experts keep supporting their colleague and resigning who is going to monitor drug use?

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