Helen Kelly angered by Peter Dunne's UN drug reform speech

Helen Kelly angered by Peter Dunne's UN drug reform speech

Former CTU head Helen Kelly has labelled Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne's speech on drug reform "dishonest".

Her battle to access medicinal cannabis for her terminal lung cancer has unfolded publicly.

She's currently taking cannabis products she sources illegally to relieve her pain.

Ms Kelly says the product she took last night made her violently ill, and she and other sufferers need a product that's specialist-approved.

"I'm dying, and it's considered not good enough for me because somehow it's going to harm me, it's ludicrous."

Mr Dunne this morning told a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that New Zealand urged the pharmaceutical industry to invest more in research and development of cannabis-based products.

He said for those with a terminal illness, a compassionate approach to their treatment is a priority.

However he said finding the right medicinal cannabis product required a robust, scientific approach.

Ms Kelly said she found the speech "unbelievable" because Mr Dunne was saying everything she wanted to hear, but the situation he described in New Zealand was far from reality.

"He uses these words, available, compassionate, and it's just simply not.

"I now no longer have an application in for cannabis because it's too difficult to get it through the system and there isn't any cannabis available in New Zealand that I can take lawfully, so I'm taking it unlawfully."

An application made to the Ministry of Health by Ms Kelly's oncologist was turned down because it didn't have enough information.

The oncologist withdrew an application for Sativex, the only Government-approved medicinal cannabis after Ms Kelly said she didn't want it because of its hallucinogenic side-effects.

She says there are products the Government could make available for sufferers and she was furious at Mr Dunne for not acting on the words of his speech.

"Not for me, because I'm getting what I need, but for all the mothers trying to work out what to give their kids and not wanting to give them illegal stuff.

"All the partners watching their partners suffer and wanting to give them cannabis, and knowing it's not going to do them any harm."