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Lexilogio

Drug Treatment - has society got it wrong?

I watched Russell Brands documentary on drug treatment ( still available on I player), and the news night confrontation on the subject between him and Peter Hitchens.

Is methadone the right treatment? The programme seemed to suggest that there was no benefit in helping people becoming drug free, as compared to no treatment at all.

Should society change it's approach? Is there the political will to do so?

Debate here - or on twitter.
Shaker

Yes, it's not only wrong, it's utterly futile and is fully admitted as much by chief constables and the like when they have the cojones to admit as much. There are a few politicians even in this country (Kenneth Clarke springs to mind) who, while not going that far, have inched as near to that stance as they dare for the sake of their careers.

It's futile because those who endorse it (the likes of the loathsome Hitchens et hoc genus omne - if ever there was a sign that there's no justice in the world it's that Christopher Hitchens died young while his odious toad of a brother is still using up valuable oxygen) simply will not recognise the self-evident fact that people take various substances, naturally occurring or synthetic or whatever, because they feel nice. The end results may not be nice but nobody begins to take any substance unless there's some pleasurable pay-off of some sort. Treating people who wish to take substances of any kind (subject to some restrictions - drink-driving is an obvious case in point; crack-smoking airline pilots and the like) as children clearly doesn't work, but nor does treating them as patients with an affliction asking to be cured. Provided that one is a competent consenting adult of sound mind and fully cognisant of any potential risks, I see no reason why anybody shouldn't be allowed to put into their own body whatever substances they wish. I'm a classic liberal/libertarian (the latter word has a different meaning over here than it does in the USA) in the John Stuart Mill mould and On Liberty is as close to a Bible as I have. I fully endorse the sentiment: "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant ... The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over one's mind and over one's body the individual is sovereign."

Recently Portugal decriminalised all drugs and within months they had seen a reduction in the consumption of all drugs across the board. Decriminalisation works and we have the evidence that demonstrates this to be the case. Other countries will, eventually, follow suit, and this country may well be one of them, last of all and bringing up the rear as usual. Britain, especially England, being a backward, hidebound, regressive nation second only to the USA in this regard ("England has always been disinclined to accept human nature" - E.M. Forster, Maurice) will only take the sensible option embarrassingly late when every other option has been exhausted - gay marriage being another case in point.
Lexilogio

Admittedly Russell Brand wasn't debating decriminalisation, as much as re classifying addiction as a disease, which required treating with abstinence. Because at the moment, those on methadone simply take other drugs on top of the methadone.
Lexilogio

NGLReturns is now being followed by two US drug rehab agencies thanks to posting about Russell Brands documentary on Twitter...
Jim

I doubt decriminalisation is the answer.
Per head of population, the area in which I live has a worse drug problem than the most notorious parts of Glasgow; itself a hotbed of addiction. ( Source: Strathclyde Police. )
    When I come across families, usually disfunctional families, and I do, where the parents are methadone users, and also addicted to 'jellies' ( Tomazopaum) which are reasonably easy to get online, financing their habit by using nearly all their meagre benefit , leaving the children in a state of near starvation, I despair of the social work culture of 'keeping the family together'.

    On more than one occasion, I have entered a house to find literally nothing. No furniture, save deck chairs. No TV - no elictricity, no food, the parents spaced out and the kids, on one occasion two children, on another, three, left to their own devices. The girls were playing houses with syringes acting as "mummy and daddy", and medicine bottles as the kids. This was in 2006.

    On reporting this situation to the authorities - and the poluice, I was informed that the situation was 'under review'.
It was still 'under review ' last year, when, after moving to Kilmarnock, the younger child was murdered. At the funeral, the parent was unablwe to stand - not through grief, but the effects of her habit.
The only audible response at the service from her was "I wish to f**K this was over, I need a joint."
Attitudes to such situations need to change - for the childrens' sakes, if not for the parents. If they want to kill themselves, let them do it, but not at the risk of harming their childrens future.
Shrub Dweller

Shaker wrote:
Yes, it's not only wrong, it's utterly futile and is fully admitted as much by chief constables and the like when they have the cojones to admit as much. There are a few politicians even in this country (Kenneth Clarke springs to mind) who, while not going that far, have inched as near to that stance as they dare for the sake of their careers.

It's futile because those who endorse it (the likes of the loathsome Hitchens et hoc genus omne - if ever there was a sign that there's no justice in the world it's that Christopher Hitchens died young while his odious toad of a brother is still using up valuable oxygen) simply will not recognise the self-evident fact that people take various substances, naturally occurring or synthetic or whatever, because they feel nice. The end results may not be nice but nobody begins to take any substance unless there's some pleasurable pay-off of some sort. Treating people who wish to take substances of any kind (subject to some restrictions - drink-driving is an obvious case in point; crack-smoking airline pilots and the like) as children clearly doesn't work, but nor does treating them as patients with an affliction asking to be cured. Provided that one is a competent consenting adult of sound mind and fully cognisant of any potential risks, I see no reason why anybody shouldn't be allowed to put into their own body whatever substances they wish. I'm a classic liberal/libertarian (the latter word has a different meaning over here than it does in the USA) in the John Stuart Mill mould and On Liberty is as close to a Bible as I have. I fully endorse the sentiment: "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant ... The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over one's mind and over one's body the individual is sovereign."

Recently Portugal decriminalised all drugs and within months they had seen a reduction in the consumption of all drugs across the board. Decriminalisation works and we have the evidence that demonstrates this to be the case. Other countries will, eventually, follow suit, and this country may well be one of them, last of all and bringing up the rear as usual. Britain, especially England, being a backward, hidebound, regressive nation second only to the USA in this regard ("England has always been disinclined to accept human nature" - E.M. Forster, Maurice) will only take the sensible option embarrassingly late when every other option has been exhausted - gay marriage being another case in point.

Just as long as they don't expect any help should things go wrong, yes? If someone knowingly takes something that they know will do them harm then they should be left to take the consequences, and no one should feel obliged to waste their money in helping them, yes?
cyberman

Shrub Dweller wrote:
Shaker wrote:
I see no reason why anybody shouldn't be allowed to put into their own body whatever substances they wish.

Just as long as they don't expect any help should things go wrong, yes? If someone knowingly takes something that they know will do them harm then they should be left to take the consequences, and no one should feel obliged to waste their money in helping them, yes?


Interesting to juxtapose this with your recent post on another thread (the "What would he think now" one) about child labour exploitation.

One of my main criticisms of people who buy drugs while thinking themselves liberal is that they are choosing to support a vast global network of labour exploitation and abuse of power. (And, I have yet to be convinced that changing the legal status here would improve the lives of farmers and other exploited workers in Colombia or Afghanistan one jot).
Shrub Dweller

cyberman wrote:
Shrub Dweller wrote:
Shaker wrote:
I see no reason why anybody shouldn't be allowed to put into their own body whatever substances they wish.

Just as long as they don't expect any help should things go wrong, yes? If someone knowingly takes something that they know will do them harm then they should be left to take the consequences, and no one should feel obliged to waste their money in helping them, yes?


Interesting to juxtapose this with your recent post on another thread (the "What would he think now" one) about child labour exploitation.

One of my main criticisms of people who buy drugs while thinking themselves liberal is that they are choosing to support a vast global network of labour exploitation and abuse of power. (And, I have yet to be convinced that changing the legal status here would improve the lives of farmers and other exploited workers in Colombia or Afghanistan one jot).

Good point. But also, some legal things in Britain, like clothes and iPlayers, are made in sweat shops. Apple have made their $Billions by having their goods made by kids in conditions we wouldn't keep our dogs in.
Jim

Would decriminilising drugs really affect the kids of those idiots who choose - and, yes, it is a choice - to get hooked?
There has been drugs education in schools - at least in Scotland - since I was a teenager in the '70's. It hasn't worked. In the 80's police operated an 'unofficial' attitude to possession of cannabis and LSD. It didn't work.
Now, not only cannabis, but crack, heroin, tomazopaum, ecstasy, and the rest - including crystal meth - are endemic and readily available.
The queue of zombies standing outside our local pharmacy waiting for methodone is testimony to that particular failure.
I was involved as a volunteer om a drug rehab project in a part of Ayrshire in the early 8o's. A 'safe house' for addicts was established where they could come off their habit. I'll never forget the sight of my first corpse in a bath...she had injected herself and fallen asleep and drowned.
Both her kids, who had eventually found trhere way into care, are now in prison...for peddling drugs.
Shrub Dweller

Jim wrote:
Would decriminilising drugs really affect the kids of those idiots who choose - and, yes, it is a choice - to get hooked?
There has been drugs education in schools - at least in Scotland - since I was a teenager in the '70's. It hasn't worked. In the 80's police operated an 'unofficial' attitude to possession of cannabis and LSD. It didn't work.
Now, not only cannabis, but crack, heroin, tomazopaum, ecstasy, and the rest - including crystal meth - are endemic and readily available.
The queue of zombies standing outside our local pharmacy waiting for methodone is testimony to that particular failure.
I was involved as a volunteer om a drug rehab project in a part of Ayrshire in the early 8o's. A 'safe house' for addicts was established where they could come off their habit. I'll never forget the sight of my first corpse in a bath...she had injected herself and fallen asleep and drowned.
Both her kids, who had eventually found trhere way into care, are now in prison...for peddling drugs.

The problem is that society has broken down, a consequence of the industrial revolution. We are a highly social animals that needs, and finds contentment, in a tribal framework; family, extended family and group. People/kids who lack this environment feel empty inside and fill it with whatever they can find. Without this fundamental help with their psychology, and therefore social 'inner' outlook, they will always be drawn to their quick fixes and thrills.

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