Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Home, straight

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  • TracyMac,

    Apropos Mr Edwards, I'd like to assert with quite a lot of vehemence that an absent father figure is much better than a fucked-up violent abusive one. (And so too with the reverse gender)

    Also, my mother modelled a perfectly standard feminine gender role - I'm still (fairly) butch. My sisters are as girly as hell. How many camp gay men had camp fathers?

    *crickets*

    In fact, some queer people I know who had queer parents had some real struggles with their own identity because they didn't want to be just like mum. Who does?

    As for drug testing, you know, I'm kind of ok with it in some respects and not others. With alcohol, there's a fairly standard agreed figure (.05 internationally) where there is "impairment" (very mild, but still, it's a figure). Now, being stoned off your face is not the best way to drive (it's not just about reaction times - there's a thing called situational awareness), but pot remains in your system for ages without your being impaired by any stretch of the definition.

    I don't like the idea of a scheme that's supposedly about road safety being used as a fishing expedition for drug use. If they determined an actual figure for cannabis use (and LSD, E, whatever) where the average punter would be mildly impaired, then fine. As far as I know, if it's a positive result, you get done for "driving under the influence" whether or not you're actually being influenced.

    Don't eat those poppy seed rolls before driving! Or have they actually sorted out the false positive to opiates problem?

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    @Steve P
    Avatar does look interesting, I may even go to the cinema for the first time in years. Shame the link was for those with fruit flavoured computers though.
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Er ... does it have trouble running on non-Apple computers? I'm computer ignorant, sorry. It worked on my pc though.

    The movie trailer looked a bit disappointing to me. The aliens look like the elves from LOTR crossed with the aforementioned Smurfs.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    pot remains in your system for ages without your being impaired by any stretch of the definition.

    I don't like the idea of a scheme that's supposedly about road safety being used as a fishing expedition for drug use.

    I believe the standard response is that if you're not impaired you won't fail the impairment test, and thus cannot be convicted.

    For your second point, I would note:

    1. it isn't just illegal drugs.
    2. New section 73A is quite clear that the evidence obtained under the compulsory test cannot be used for a charge under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I don't like the idea of a scheme that's supposedly about road safety being used as a fishing expedition for drug use.

    It seems pretty fucked, particularly if the police have absolute discretion over who they pick to waste a whole bunch of time for. Anyone can claim they smelled pot. Just recently I had a cop waste about 25 minutes of my time because looking in from the passenger side he smelled "something". He never said what. But I'm sure the reality was that he felt that anyone driving around at midday on a weekday with a mate in a hotted up muscle car must be up to something, and a breath test can always be demanded, and he arsed around like anything getting hold of his breathalyzer, during which his partner ran me through all their databases, and the guy asked me any number of totally irrelevant questions. I can hardly imagine how much further they go with their favorite target demographics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • vangam,

    More than 20 years ago - 1987 to be precise - the police tried to prosecute me for driving under the influence of morphine. My lawyer at the time told me it was a 'test' case. The judge threw the case out because they couldnt show that the morphine had caused the accident (I drove into a lampost.) So what has changed since then? Are they now able to demonstrate a correlation between the two? The upshot of these new laws will be an awful lot of firivilous cases clogging up the courts where anyone with a half-decent lawyer will be able to wriggle out of the charges.

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    I'm glad you were able to wriggle out and others will too. My blood is almost pure THC. What interests me is whether or not they are going to be releasing decent information as to how long various drugs stay in the system so as to avoid any unfortunate runins with the legal system, (mainly for my sister, I don't drive for coordinational/environmental reasons).

    Definitely seems to be an admission that the war on drugs went south.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    public-service TV commercials created to warn would-be drugged drivers of the legal, moral and physical consequences of getting behind the wheel

    This is depressing. In all the fluff around reducing the road toll, I think there is an absence of a real critical look at these advertising campaigns.

    I went to a seminar recently which was focussed on this kind of large scale public persuasion. As an example, the speaker mentioned Clinton's $2bn campaign to reduce drug use. Designed by marketing firms, it was felt that frequency was more important than quality in terms of getting the message across. There was no pre-testing, no control group, and no real attempt to analyse the effectiveness.

    It was eventually analysed in a dose-response design, and the more ads people saw, the more drugs they used. There is also research suggesting that overly graphic messages to tend to encourage avoidance/resistance (channel changing, counter-arguments), and that sometimes mis-directed messages (ones that don't appear relevant to the target group are more effective). Finally, knowledge of risk is not usually predictive of engagement in the target behaviour (people don't drink-drive, speed, smoke cigarettes because they're unaware of the consequences).

    So road safety campaigns in the media? They often increase advertising at the same time as they change other rules (so can't tell if ads themselves are working). Do they go for quality or frequency? Avoidance/resistance -- how many people change channel, grab a drink, ignore these ads because the ads are aversive? Are they trying to get a risk message across? Because nobody's aware that drink driving's dangerous, right?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Perhaps people dislike being told they are bad, antisocial, dangerous, bloody stupid, irresponsible, selfish, criminals, murderers, baby killers and so on. Perhaps the nearest pub is 10 Kms away, there is no public transport and the pub is the only place they have a social life. Perhaps they have driven for years with a few pints inside them and have never been in even the slightest vehicular mishap. Perhaps the powers that be could actually look at the statistics and realise that drink or drug driving is not the main cause of accidents (driving whilst stoned and drunk while texting and reading a map at the same time as smacking a child unrestrained in the back seat without a driving licence in an unregistered car doesn't feature at all in the statistics).
    I would contend that one of the main causes of accidents is arrogance , I have right of way so it is my right to smash into your car as hard as i can and it is all your fault, kind of thing.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    it isn't just illegal drugs.

    Well, I waited 2 years to be able to drive with legal mind altering drugs, and a blood test for me shows up as alcohol reading because my drugs indicate the same blah blah blah that alcohol does but a professional understands this, and would cops?
    Thousands of people drive with mind altering drugs. Antidepressants being one, epilepsy pills being another.Injuries that are healing can have drugs prescribed that are antidepressants. BIg can of worms.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    For your second point, I would note:

    1. it isn't just illegal drugs.
    2. New section 73A is quite clear that the evidence obtained under the compulsory test cannot be used for a charge under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

    Point 2 is so random. Not that I'm not in favour of such randomness. Again it seems to be a very clear admission that prohibition has failed. It's remarkably different from the Chinese approach, where you'd be locked in a brightly lit cell for a good week then sent away with no conviction. Not sure about the ethics there, but I have a feeling which method is more likely to make people reconsider using drugs, if drugs are in fact a problem. I've no idea what kind of message the NZ justice system is trying to send ...other than don't grow and sell and don't let the drugs impair your ability to drive or pass roadside tests. Seems like a final whimper before decriminalization.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Well, I waited 2 years to be able to drive with legal mind altering drugs, and a blood test for me shows up as alcohol reading because my drugs indicate the same blah blah blah that alcohol does but a professional understands this, and would cops?

    Can I suggest going with a breath test =)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Graeme, point 2 is very interesting. At least that's a positive step, although I'm sure the coppers will be knocking on your door (with a sledgehammer) in a week or two anyway because they have "due cause" to assume you have drugs in your house. We'll have to see how that plays out.

    Still, it doesn't address what I understand iis the binary nature of this kind of testing - something in the blood = impairment. As I mentioned, there are plenty of drugs that remain in body fat (and thus the bloodstream) for extended periods, beyond the point where they're having an effect. If there were defined thresholds that seemed to have some actual validity, then perhaps I might feel a bit more comfortable about the idea.

    I've never driven while stoned, but I have driven within a month of smoking pot, and a standard THC test would find it, no problems. I think that sucks.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Tracy - the assumption is not something in blood = impairment.

    It's: test for impairment; if the driver is impaired, test for drugs. A positive drugs test isn't enough.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3205 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    One good thing about the impairment test is that you can do it on yourself. It's probably a good idea too. If your body control and perceptions are out by that much, then that's a good reason not to get behind the wheel.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    What if your perception is out so far that you didnt detect that you failed? :)

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    You're definitely way too wasted. If you haven't noticed that , then you definitely deserve to face the music.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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