Helen Kelly – still speaking out

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, July 23rd, 2016 - 60 comments
Categories: drugs, health, human rights, peter dunne, quality of life - Tags: , ,

Jo Moir writes on the incomparable Helen Kelly:

Helen Kelly: ‘My back is broken and I only have months to live but I’m pain free’

Tumours have broken Helen Kelly’s back and she only has months to live but illegally taking cannabis means she’s pain free.

Kelly takes 10mgs of slow-release morphine twice a day but by the time she gets to bed the morphine’s stopped working and she’s “aching”.

“If I took nothing I reckon my pain would be seven or eight out of ten. If I just took the morphine my pain would be about five out of ten but if I take both my pain is nothing.”

“Cannabis is the only thing that gives me relief, it lets me sleep all night.”

Kelly’s firmly in the camp of decriminalising cannabis and is fighting hard for affordable medicinal cannabis to be made available in New Zealand.

“It’s wonderful – but illegal.” And that’s what makes Kelly angry. Not for her, because she is getting the cannabis she needs, but for the people who don’t have access and are being forced to break the law.

“I think not being in pain definitely helps. Pain debilitates you and makes you depressed and you can sort of let the depression seep over you, but if you can, get out and live your life.” ….

Hey Peter Dunne – it’s time to legalise medicinal cannabis.

60 comments on “Helen Kelly – still speaking out”

  1. Rae 1

    What an absolutely inspirational woman, whether you were for her or agin her in her trade union career.
    I believe the thing that has come to the fore during this ordeal is the humanity and love Helen expresses for those needing a hand, and in her hour of need, she is still doing that.
    I believe that many people, some who may never have given her a moment’s thought before she came ill, now have respect for her, if not a measure of love. I hope somehow or other, it reaches her and is of some comfort to her.

  2. b waghorn 2

    It’s time for a citizen initiated referendum.
    Start the ball rolling now so it can be tagged onto the election.
    It would be a good way to get a chunk of the missing million out on polling day.

    • srylands 2.1

      The Governnet would just ignore the result if it disagreed with it.

      I think all cannabis use should be legal. It will require a political consensus on that between the major parties. Sadly that seems a forlorn hope.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        I think all government advisers should be drug tested, and their opinions subject to regular reality checks. Sadly, that seems a forlorn hope too.

      • b waghorn 2.1.2

        Only if the same dishonest shits we have now survived the election, even dunne has come round to reviewing the law . if we had legal weed ( I’m not a smoker btw) crime would be cut down and police could sort out more important things.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.1

          Money will ultimately decide Cannabis debate in NZ

          The documents reveal Government spends about $400 million annually enforcing prohibition whereas decriminalisation would generate about $150m in revenue from taxing cannabis.

          I’d probably be in favour of the police keeping that $400m. As you say, they could use it to do more important things. More cops and better training for starters.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        Yep, going to have to agree with all of that.

        My readings of cannabis indicate that the only reasons why it became banned was racism, the police budget and lobbying from the cotton industry. The latter is the most interesting for NZ in that cloth that is stronger and yet softer than cotton can be made from cannabis leaves and it’s cheaper to do so. We can’t grow cotton in NZ but we most definitely can grow cannabis.

        The medical and recreational uses are bonuses on top of that.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Helen Kelly is inspiring.

  4. Thinkerr 4

    I think I fell in love with Helen Kelly, albeit in a platonic sense, while first watching “Someone Else’s Country”.

    Watched clip after clip of suited intellectuals arguing over which economic model was best to subject New Zealand’s silent majority to. It seemed to me like a bunch of scientists discussing new experiments to do with their lab rats, and I got more and more disappointed at how my country had become.

    Then came a clip of this unassuming woman, sitting by an open fire in her lounge, calmly speaking out on behalf of people she obviously knew and understood, and it lifted my spirits while watching the film.

    Many years later, I was able to put a name to the face.

    Talk about “Deeds, not stones, being the true monuments of great people”…

  5. dv 5

    I think it is bizarre that doctors can’t prescribe medical cannabis. Really weird.

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      They can and they do. These things arent lollies

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        They can and they do.

        Well, they try to but then the Minister, Dunne at the present, stands in the way and says yea or nay to it. And getting the permission slip to Dunne is itself a major mission.

        • dukeofurl 5.1.1.1

          Why would he decline a properly prepared application by a recognised doctor ?

          Its we look at Helen Kellys application

          “The former Council of Trade Unions president is dying of cancer and had sought permission through her doctor to import and use Bloom Farmers Highlighter Sativa and Indica cannabis oil inhalers.
          In a letter to Ms Kelly, the Ministry says it’s assessed the application but “considered it to contain insufficient information to enable a decision to be reached”.
          These arent ‘medicines’ but refined cannabis products

          An actual medicine isnt what she is asking for !
          “Ms Kelly has told ONE News that she doesn’t want Sativex because it’s “not suitable” for her pain.”

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            Why would he decline a properly prepared application by a recognised doctor ?

            Ask him because he did.

            But the better questions are:
            Why is the minister even in the loop?
            Why do patients and doctors have to go to extraordinary length just to get the medication that the patient needs

            • dukeofurl 5.1.1.1.1.1

              The application doesnt seem to have been properly prepared, the news report says they didnt provide enough information , so it didnt even get to Dunne.
              So No he didnt !

              My reading is they ‘applied in a loose way’ for some recreational cannabis products to be used as a medicine, which is fair enough , but didnt really know what they were doing.
              Kelly has allready declined the medical grade Sativa product – as apparently she has decided its not ‘right for her’.
              I hate to say it , but is she playing politics here, as an existing approved product wouldnt be worth the fuss.

              • Draco T Bastard

                But Peter Dunne has refused to grant Helen’s application for ministerial approval. His Ministry has put in place an approval system that is incredibly hard to succeed at and has not approved Helen’s application because she needs to show that other drugs have been tried and the symptoms are still poorly controlled.

                Helen’s request is that she be able to use a drug that is illegal although not as illegal as the drug the health system wants her to use, unless it is prescribed. But somehow the more dangerous drug is easier to prescribe. Opiates yes, cannabinoids not unless you jump through many, many hoops.

                Understand now?

                • dukeofurl

                  No thats not true.
                  The application was required to provide more information, which they didnt do.

                  There is no suggestion they even passed it on to Dunne as it failed at the first step
                  http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/medicines-control/prescribing-cannabis-based-products

                  Without us knowing all the details… we are told the controlled version.. Im assuming that Cat 3 was the relevant application

                  Non-pharmaceutical grade cannabis-based products
                  The following matters are taken into account when assessing applications for Ministerial approval to prescribe non-pharmaceutical grade cannabis-based products regulated by Regulation 22 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977:

                  [Look it up as its pointless copy/past here]

                  Dont fill in all the relevant questions of course its going to be returned as “INCOMPLETE”

                  • dukeofurl

                    This follows my deductions and spells it out more clearly- No application reached Dunne

                    “Former union boss Helen Kelly has spoken out about her “political motives” for applying for medicinal cannabis.

                    Kelly’s oncologist, Dr Anthony Falkov, who applied and later WITHDREW an application to the Ministry of Health for a non-pharmaceutical grade cannabis product, told the ministry he believed Kelly was making a “political point in trying to seek medicinal cannabis”.
                    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/78587383/Helen-Kellys-medicinal-cannabis-application-was-driven-by-political-motives

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You’re just reaching. In fact, you should probably have read the rest of the article:

                      Dunne was briefed about the decision and asked the ministry to follow-up with Falkov to see if the outstanding information could be sourced.

                      The following day Falkov informed the ministry he was also preparing an application for Sativex.

                      On Tuesday Kelly said Falkov had “assumed” she would approve of the Sativex application but when he realised she didn’t want it he stopped pursuing it.

                      After Falkov made his initial application the ministry repeatedly contacted him over 10 days trying to gather the extra information about the alternative products.

                      According to the report, when Falkov eventually responded he said he “simply didn’t have the time to research the product requested by Ms Kelly”.

                      Bold mine.

                      And you still haven’t answered the question: Why is the minister and the ministry involved at all?

                      These things should simply be on the approved list along with the far more dangerous opiates.

                    • dukeofurl

                      All Controlled drugs are in the same boat- nothing special about cannabis.

                      “Cannabis-based products are Class B1 controlled drugs and Ministerial approval is required before these can be prescribed, supplied or administered, in accordance with regulation 22 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977.”

                      B2 drugs are mainly stimulants with less dependence potential than B1substances; these include amphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA) and
                      methylphenidate (Ritalin).

                      Class B Part 3 includes methadone, pethidine and
                      other drugs commonly used for medical purposes.

                      Class C Part 1 substances commonly used illicitly rather than
                      medically, including cannabis leaf, fruit and seed, and coca leaf.

                      Its a bureaucracy, it has rules and regulations, and I thought you were in favour of unilateral ministerial power anyway

                    • dukeofurl

                      Some recent restrictions- by the Minister

                      “Commonly prescribed medicines with additional restrictions are:

                      ephedrine
                      pseudoephedrine
                      dexamphetamine
                      methylphenidate.
                      Without a specific Ministerial approval for the individual prescriber and patient these medicines may only be dispensed:

                      by Doctors and pharmicists !

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Its a bureaucracy, it has rules and regulations, and I thought you were in favour of unilateral ministerial power anyway

                      I’m in favour of decisions being made on facts rather than outdated and racist BS. Cannabis can help many people for pain relief and thus it should be up to the doctor to prescribe it.

                      The ministry is there to do the research that shows what drugs should be available for prescription and then to make them available. They’re not there to make the prescription.

                      And you still haven’t answered the question: Why is the minister and the ministry involved at all?

                    • dukeofurl

                      No one is going to throw away our evidence based medicine system on your whim.
                      Shes smoking the weed anyway. Why do we care with all the fake medical applications

              • Helen

                This is not correct. The product I applied for is a widely used medical product in the Californian regime. Sativex cost too much for me and is not the mix of THC I need or in the form that would be helpful. But they tried to pimp it (why? Why would they approve this and not my app?) . We had to research it all ourselves and the follow up questions that were unanswerable including in my view if asked about Sativex but it has some magic promoter that has captured to whole market and the MOH. . The point is to have multiple products that Dr’s are trained to use and dispense. We were offered no advice from MOH and in the end the Dr making my application withdrew it, unable to spend hours and hours answering mad questions (I think intended to put him off) he did not know the answer to. If we had a proper system he would not have to do that. Don’t tell me it is working! Yesterday some of those that are dying and are using Cannabis got in touch. Question? Is the NZ state arresting terminally ill Cannabis users, taking away their medicine and charging them? Oh yes every day!!!! We have the highest rate of Proscecution in the OECD and yesterday I heard from them. Find me a person that is not the Minister himself ( including a single other politician) that says the current system works!

                • adam

                  Hear, hear.

                • dukeofurl

                  ” Is the NZ state arresting terminally ill Cannabis users, taking away their medicine and charging them? Oh yes every day!!!!

                  Thats absurd, the police have said its not a priority.

                  “The product I applied for is a widely used medical product in the Californian regime.”

                  Its a herbal remedy, please dont use the term medicine for such things, It intended use is for recreational smokers who can afford a standardised product. We have seen the so called medical dispensaries in California are a farce.

                  Just checked the website of California Office of Medical Cannabis Safety.
                  https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/pages/omcs.aspx
                  Please note that we are not currently issuing licenses! We are currently developing the regulations that will define licensing requirements. We anticipate receiving applications for licenses beginning on January 1, 2018.

                  So there are no safety or standards what so ever

                  • the pigman

                    Dukeofurl,

                    “Thats absurd, the police have said its not a priority.”

                    Faux outrage, much? Why, exhibiting all the signs of someone who has never touched cannabis in his life, would you presume to know more than a group of seriously ill cannabis users, including Helen herself?

                    Just another authoritarian, establishment thug, seriously short in the empathy department.

  6. ianmac 6

    Pity alcohol was not subject to the same scrutiny. If it was it would be banned and 75% of police work would disappear.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Alcohol has pretty much always had an effective lobbying arm and, of course, people have been drinking it in England for centuries.

      • ianmac 6.1.1

        Yes for thousands of years, people put alcohol in all their water drinks to kill the germs. Matter of degree re binge drinking really. If a policeman had to visit a party where a hundred people were dinking versus a party of 100 people who were using cannabis, guess which they would prefer?

        • dukeofurl 6.1.1.1

          What makes you think historically alcohol has been made safely and wasnt subject to adulteration.
          It only applies to western style commercial alcohol.
          India and Africa are rife with illicit and adulterated alcohol

          • John 6.1.1.1.1

            John it seems you are not the baby anymore, but a FATHER.

            Nicky and I are to have a Son.

            Aren’t we so lucky, and blessed to have Nicky, and his genetics?

            We are very blessed.

            Nicky will be an excellent Father and you will be a superb GodFather.

            We have a little boy coming, James.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.2

          And people have been using marijuana for thousands of years as well – just not in the Western countries. IMO, it was that lack of use and thus lack of understanding that allowed the politicians and corporates to paint it as bad and get it banned without the backlash that occurred with alcohol prohibition.

  7. Saarbo 7

    New Zealand Leadership needs more Helen Kelly’s.

    So strong and dedicated in helping those that need help.

  8. leftie 8

    Peter Dunne had no hesitation in legalizing synthetic highs, (isn’t his son a lawyer, who advocates for a synthetic high company?), so, what’s the hold up for legalizing medical cannabis then?

    • b waghorn 8.1

      You know why conservatives don’t like weed, it’s because when they tried it back at uni they didn’t like it and the cool kids still laughed at them.

    • dukeofurl 8.2

      Medical cannabis is legally available.

      What you are referring to is standardised commercially grown recreational cannabis.

      The reason why medical cannabis isnt more widely available is the evidence is very thin and not really any better than current …you know real medicines

      • adam 8.2.1

        My dukefurl your so dull with more lackluster mendacious remarks. How about you prove you are more than your arrogate?

        “Real medicines” only a Muppet would put those words together. You know heroin is a “real medicine”. Or at one time aspirin was banned because they thought it was bad for the heart. Do you know any history of medications, or how we developed them? Any ideas?

        As for research, try the AMA journal on pain, and cannabinoids. Medical cannabis and it’s us for M.S – how about you try arguing no research on that topic with the BMA?

        I’d call you names, but seeing as you do so well at being a dilettante, feel free to come back with more of your egregious dribble.

        • leftie 8.2.1.1

          +1 Adam. How many times have we all heard at some point in time, people saying the so called “real medicines” are worse than the illness/disease itself?

      • leftie 8.2.2

        Really ignorant, and uninformed comment there Dukeofurl.

  9. Jenny Kirk 9

    There was a request on a Facebook page yesterday, asking for as many people as possible to put up Helen Kelly as a nominee for the NZer of the Year Award. Link below. The more, the merrier. It would be good to see her receive such an Award !
    The person who requested this said :
    ” Please Share and complete the nomination form, if ever there was someone who has done so much for this country but it has gone unrecognised it would be Helen.”

    http://nzawards.org.nz/nominate/

    The nomination form asks for extra information about the person being nominated, and all you need do is Google “Helen Kelly NZ” and you get up a heap of info plus Wikipedia.

    • leftie 9.1

      I think that’s awesome Jenny Kirk, and what would be an even better award for Helen Kelly is for her to see a positive outcome in her fight to have medical cannabis made legal and available for everyone who are suffering painful and debilitating illnesses. Peter Dunne has taken a political view against Helen Kelly because of who she represents imo. This will sadly be her last fight, lets make sure she wins it. Force the National government and it’s cohorts to stop criminalizing ill and dying Kiwis by legalizing medical cannabis and give them comfort and their dignity back in their last moments on this earth.

    • mosa 9.2

      Great Jenny thanks for the link.

    • mary_a 9.3

      Thanks Jenny (9) for the info.

      Helen Kelly … NZer of the Year. YESSSSSSSS.

      Helen Kelly … a great inspiration. ABSOLUTELY.

      Helen Kelly … a Kiwi to be proud of. YOU BET.

      I wish Helen well.

  10. mosa 10

    Its a no brainer to legalize medicinal cannabis. Its state sponsored cruelty not too.
    Christ we can legalise to give Sky city more pokies and safeguard its operations for 30 years by statute yet we cant do this too ease the suffering for people like Helen !!!
    Its the 21st century in case this government had not noticed.
    I have always thought the National party is indifferent to the needs of people ,this is just another example.

    • adam 10.1

      No just not an issue, no votes in it – look at the polls. this is a government who is run on polls. Until a time comes when this may affect nationals chances of getting elected, it is a non-starter.

      Please note as a person who lives with pain everyday from a spinal injury, I’d like nothing more that medical cannabis to make me employable. But hey, keep me in the ranks of the unemployed, and help keep wages down – win win.

      • Chuck 10.1.1

        adam I have a very close family member whom could also benefit from medical cannabis.

        But please tell me are you talking about cannabis as in “Pharmaceutical grade products” or as like in some US states…buying cannabis buds to smoke? (to relieve pain etc).

        • leftie 10.1.1.1

          Stop being a shitstirring shit, Chuck.

          • Chuck 10.1.1.1.1

            leftie I will give you the benefit of doubt, in that you think everything is about left verse right so i will take it very easy on you.

            You have no insight into my personal situation, like I yours. The difference between me and you is I will never assume your personal situation.

            My wife has terminal cancer…and would benefit from alternative pain relief.

            • leftie 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Chuck, I wasn’t referring to your personal life, and you know it. I was referring to:

              “But please tell me are you talking about cannabis as in Pharmaceutical grade products” or as like in some US states…buying cannabis buds to smoke? (to relieve pain etc).”

              I felt that your were stirring and being inflammatory with that part of your comment.

              • Chuck

                “Chuck, I wasn’t referring to your personal life, and you know it. I was referring to” comment 10.1.1

                “I felt that your were stirring and being inflammatory with that part of your comment.”

                Then why did you not read my first sentence leftie? – “adam I have a very close family member whom could also benefit from medical cannabis.”

                I am interested to know adams view on how far NZ should go to introduce medical cannabis.

                • leftie

                  Is there something wrong with you Chuck? I thought I had made it clear, and didn’t think I needed to make specific comment on your first sentence when in another post after yours I wrote: “I hope one day soon, medical cannabis is made available to you and so many others who need proper pain relief Adam.”

      • leftie 10.1.2

        I hope one day soon, medical cannabis is made available to you and so many others who need proper pain relief Adam.

    • philj 10.2

      Yes Mosa. It’s tragic when compassion and empathy are ‘trumped’ by expediency and political ‘responsibility’. Helen is a courageous person who IMO represents the highest expression of what being human is.

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