A small fraction end up junkies. I don’t see why we have to dedicate all of the discussion to the junkies.
I don’t see how most on here can. How many users actually will admit to it and explain what is good about it . One thing a “junkie” is very good at is to not talk about it because of the stigma awarded in the drugs sphere around different types of heavier stuff. People will chat about an E on Saturday nite or a bit of speed to enjoy a dance party etc. Not many admit to having a ping of homebake to chill in front of a good movie at home. A junkie can function in society just as well as a pot smoker or casual drinker. The stigma however is that they can’t, as I think you insinuated or did you use the term loosely for all types of drugs?
As an aside, we are just watching a rerun of the entire series of "The Wire", Series 3 on Hamsterdam is a pretty good analogy of acceptance of users and the Police trying to find a solution to ignoring the trade while at the same time accommodating the others residents in the community with the inherent problems that come with all of it.
I'm chairing a session with American journalist Maia Szalavitz in Wellington on Thursday.
Maia Szalavitz is an award winning journalist and author whose work has focussed on mental health issues, addictions, drug policy, neuroscience and the media’s portrayal of these issues. Her personal experience as a former user of cocaine and heroin and her extensive knowledge of the scientific literature on addictions and drug policy brings a unique perspective to her work.
Ms Szalavitz is a regular contributor to many major international publications including Time, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and New Scientist. She has also appeared on Oprah, CNN, MSNBC and NPR.
Y'all can come along and/or suggest questions.
Her personal experience as a former user of cocaine and heroin and
Ok, so some talk about it, but they are usually ex... ;)
A story by Maia from February:
A crack pipe vending machine for addicts sounds like the punch line of a bad joke—but the same kind of ridicule has been lobbed at many measures to fight drug addiction and related harm that have now proven to save lives. From needle exchange programs for HIV prevention to providing heroin to addicts, and from supervised injecting rooms to “wet houses” where homeless alcoholics are given free booze, approaches that seem to “enable” users are in fact effective in helping them to survive and recover.
A small fraction end up junkies. I don’t see why we have to dedicate all of the discussion to the junkies.
For the same reason we don't talk much about adults who purchase alcohol legally, consume the stuff in moderation, don't drive drunk, commit crimes against others or their property under the influence, or end up with severe chronic alcohol-related health issues? Because they're not a public policy or public health issue.
I guess it's possible to have a model where it's legal to sell (some) drugs face-face on an informal basis but not to operate a storefront.
Which creates a highly unregulated market, but not one that's in people's faces, if that's what people object to.
For the same reason we don’t talk much about adults who purchase alcohol legally, consume the stuff in moderation, don’t drive drunk, commit crimes against others or their property under the influence, or end up with severe chronic alcohol-related health issues? Because they’re not a public policy or public health issue.
but not one that’s in people’s faces, if that’s what people object to.
I think that's one thing. Some people would be getting all hooha about it being Tax free (although I think we pay tax twice on many things and that's acceptable ). People don't like others getting something for free if they have to pay as in alcohol which is taxed.
Campbell live did a marvellous job of showing that people were getting high in the morning. Shock Horror! There were some who bought their drugs on their way to work, and although I heard a couple of people say it was for a smoke when they got home, the perception was, they will get high at work. The work ethic that is pushed is you must put in 40 hrs at least a week and then you can have a bit of fun. If nobody wants to employ you or you haven't created your own job yet, you are supposed to look ready. How cruel is that? Who are these judges to say you'll get a job one day so sit tight and wait.... oh that's right its Paula Benefit (lets put millions into making people ready for work and pay more consultants to advise the unemployed while we take away their accommodation and cut their assistance because you had to hitch the 35km to get to a Winz appt that want to see that you are work ready and you were late as noone picked you up and there were no buses in the whole area to help get you there rant grumble grrr). We have picked up people in this situation. But I digress. So yeah, tax, nimbyism,
I'll get my coat...
“junkie” ... or did you use the term loosely for all types of drugs?
I will, quite willingly. I live downstairs from a woman who cannot function without cigarettes, in the sense that she recently left hospital early after a smoking-related treatment because they restricted her smoking and she couldn't cope. My sister-in-law, who is officially a junkie, did much the same after giving birth recently. Should only one of them be labelled a "junky"? If so, why not the one hospitalised as a direct result of her addiction?
How do you otherwise describe someone who managed to make it most of the way through "dry July" but during that time could only talk about how much she missed drinking and how being dry was ruining her social life? Then once she'd officially failed, admitted that she'd only "officially failed" because drinking at home wasn't working for her? So "dry" was in scare quotes...
One thing that I find amusing is that the arguments against legalising cannibis are mostly predicated on the current restrictions on tobacco not being effective. Why can't we treat cannibis the same way as tobacco? Hey, why not make it part of the tobacco license?
Portugese are not “free to enjoy themselves on drugs”.
They are considerably freer than I am.
You’re barking up the wrong tree if you expect public health agencies to do that part for you. The Ministry of Health doesn’t make table wine recommendations either.
That's exactly the opposite of what I expect. They're entirely dedicated to harm reduction, that's what they do. Which is why I wouldn't expect any particular help to come from them on the half of the issue I'm talking about.
But no one’s preventing you from having that discussion
No, they're not. And I'm having it, aren't I? Do you want me to stop? It seemed like just the place to be talking about this, but your call.
Why can’t we treat cannabis (fixed it for you) the same way as tobacco? Hey, why not make it part of the tobacco license?
We should be able to just as anyone who uses drugs wants to give up should be able to seek some help. That was my point, (albeit I beat around the bush) it should be like alcohol law.Laws we already have and are used to. I also think, that if someone doesn't want to give up their whatever vice,they too should be able to live that way. The word Junkie seems to be applied as a derogatory word of which I don't like the discrimination. Addict suggests sick. User works for me as it has no prejudice.
I don’t see how most on here can. How many users actually will admit to it and explain what is good about it
And how can they do it in a way that stacks up against cold facts and statistics about addiction, madness, self-destruction and death? We don't count good times. We don't keep statistics on how much people enjoyed themselves, especially not about things they can't easily admit to enjoying.
Addict suggests sick. User works for me as it has no prejudice.
It's a tricky issue. I don't think the word "addict" is without useful meaning.
Because they’re not a public policy or public health issue.
The bulk of the population are not a public policy issue? Aside from them not being an “issue” at all, but people, they certainly are a very primary concern of public policy, and they damned well should be. If it was up to the public, cannabis would probably be decriminalized already.
But surely you can see that your very point presumes the unimportance of an entire half of the the purpose of even having a government, which is to preserve our chances of happiness? It’s not just about protecting us, and it’s certainly not just about protecting us from ourselves. Or is your point simply that you’re not interested in my point? If so, fair enough. That’s certainly a fair comeback to my saying I’m over hearing about how awesomely progressive we can be via the slow incremental accumulation of reasons not to take drugs, culminating in the hardly surprising decision to ban the whole lot of them.
I’m over hearing about how awesomely progressive we can be via the slow incremental accumulation of reasons not to take drugs, culminating in the hardly surprising decision to ban the whole lot of them.
I was a bit over hearing from not the horses mouth or not the horses mouth anymore but used to... but I don't mind that others want to find solutions that appease themselves. It is afterall supposed to be a democracy,but I do think the business of getting down to enjoying yourself versus doing what has been deemed allowed is one of the things I've always done. Give them what they want then work the system. I'm just used to it. I'm not alone .Geez half of NZ is doing that already. Just, some police wanna get all up in ya face about it and when the public join in and cry foul, we take the 2 steps sideways and waltz.
I'm glad however that ,the conversation is out and shopping the other day, a guy at JB Hifi was discussing how pot works for him and we just need to get on and legalise. That was a conversation I have not experienced before on a shop floor.
Baby steps Ben. This govt has never been progressive.
I guess people generally still live with hope.
opps wrong subject
Seems like D I MIlls…is fond of sweeeeden…from the les maxwell NBID report…new cannabis the cornerstone of illicit drug harm in new zeeland….they just print the blue cover of the book…. as the strategic assessment….. all you kiwi tax payers paid for…..IT………….. and continue to do so…but I digress
sweedish conscripts…..how is sweeden doing now?
I certainly think that there's a case for decriminalisation of cannabis, but I'm somewhat uneasy when the same argument is applied to P/crystal meth. The two drugs have vastly different pharmacological and toxicological properties, so I think the best way to go is probably streamlining the Misuse of Drugs Act and abolishing the Class C category altogether, albeit with an R18 age limit. Some Class B substances may be best governed by harm minimisation and risk reduction. Reserve the interdiction and hardline prohibitionist policies for Class A drugs, where they might be justifiable. Methamphetamine psychosis does exist, and it is far more severe than the limited effects of similar adverse reactions to cannabis amongst particularly susceptible individuals.
User works for me as it has no prejudice
Just remember folks:
Only Users Lose Drugs!
Ben, I'll be raising your points with Maia tomorrow.
She wrote this last year:
What is the most dangerous activity you can engage in? If you guessed doing illegal drugs, you would be wrong. Extreme sports like big wave surfing, heli-skiing, cave diving, white-water rafting and mountain climbing all have a higher rate of risk to life and limb. Yet the question of a ban on these behaviors beloved by "adrenaline addicts" is viewed as ludicrous, even when the risk of death, say, in climbing Mount Everest once (until recently, about 1 in 3) is greater than the annual risk of dying from heroin addiction (around 1% to 4%).
Or consider mundane activities like driving: Car accidents are responsible for 1% of annual deaths nationwide. Cigarettes and alcohol do at least as much, if not more, harm to each user than heroin or cocaine. Alcohol, cocaine and heroin have a 3% to 15% rate of addiction, depending on how it is measured—and tobacco's rate is higher. Yet the risks don't align well with their legal and social status, especially when you consider that marijuana is safer than any of the legal drugs.
The reasons for this inconsistency around risk are complicated. Driving has huge personal and economic benefits. Risky sports are seen as noble challenges that foster the human will toward exploration, adventure and growth. When it comes to nonmedical drug use, however, discussion of benefits tends to be either dismissed as delusional or stifled in favor of “risk” talk.
I mention these facts not to promote drug use. That I feel compelled to immediately include such a disclaimer underlines my point: Our values shape our perception of risk and the way we make drug policy. If we recognize only the risks and ignore the benefits, we fail to understand that the real problems are addiction and harm—not the substances themselves and the people who use them.
No, they’re not. And I’m having it, aren’t I? Do you want me to stop? It seemed like just the place to be talking about this, but your call.
No, I don't want you to stop. I appreciate your point, but I'm puzzled by the way you've dismissed harm reduction, when it largely seems responsible for positive change.
I certainly think that there’s a case for decriminalisation of cannabis, but I’m somewhat uneasy when the same argument is applied to P/crystal meth.
Decriminalisation is still an option even when you really don’t want a substance in the market. If it’s that dangerous and damaging, why re-victimise users?
The two drugs have vastly different pharmacological and toxicological properties, so I think the best way to go is probably streamlining the Misuse of Drugs Act and abolishing the Class C category altogether, albeit with an R18 age limit. Some Class B substances may be best governed by harm minimisation and risk reduction.
You’d still want to think about what you wanted to decriminalise and what you would approve for commercial supply. The Misuse of Drugs Act is quite a mess in that respect. Morphine’s Class B and psilocybin, thanks (I think) to an early 80s moral panic, is Class A.
Reserve the interdiction and hardline prohibitionist policies for Class A drugs, where they might be justifiable. Methamphetamine psychosis does exist, and it is far more severe than the limited effects of similar adverse reactions to cannabis amongst particularly susceptible individuals.
And yet, almost everyone who uses amphetamines recreationally doesn’t suffer psychosis or even any significant harm. They’ve been used recreationally in New Zealand for around 60 years. They’re fun!
You could say inhaled methamphetamine is a special case. It hurts more people more badly than any other kind of speed, in my experience -- I saw people who'd always kept it together lose their shit with P. On the other hand, Ritalin is also an amphetamine and that’s pretty benign when used as a party drug.
I’m puzzled by the way you’ve dismissed harm reduction, when it largely seems responsible for positive change.
Fair enough. I'm not being clear enough. I don't oppose harm reduction, per se. I just think it's only half of the picture, and that when you work on the wrong function, you get wrong results, with mechanical efficiency. To that end, I see harm reduction as a policy as minimize(harm). Whereas I think the function should really be minimize(harm-good). Or maximize(good-harm), which is exactly the same thing. And the thing about minimizing for the wrong function is that you don't get a solution that is useful, a partial result for the other function. You get something can be a very long way from the other result. If good is not a part of your objective function, you can end up minimizing it. That is, after all, the solution path that takes the biggest bites out of harm - to take huge bites out of anything that people think is good, but carries some harm (and is thus popular). You can forge a very long way against good just for very minor harm reductions.
Which all seemed rather theoretical, until a huge step was taken just recently in exactly this way. We reduced all harm from drugs by taking away all potential for enjoying them. The enjoyment was utterly irrelevant, and in fact, it indicated the very best path for the maximum harm reduction. Because a whole lot of people liked their nasty synthetic cannabis that was legal, of course that was the perfect thing to immediately completely irradicate. Its very popularity, the very thing that made people want to have it, was what caused it to be targeted for termination. The process decided its fate in a microsecond - it was always there in the solution path for anyone who cared to look. This was why I didn't jump for joy when the PSA was passed in the first place, immediately cramming the synthetics market into a corner, killing most of the utility someone like me might have got out of it. It seemed pretty clear it was a first step on the path to eradicating all psychoactives.
I'll give that the definition of harm can include harms to people arising from prohibition. In that, it could contra-indicate prohibition, maybe, eventually, with enough data. But it can only do so very weakly. The prohibition harm has to be quite substantial to outweigh the harm of the substance abuse that it's addressing. Unless the definition of harm can actually include harms to liberty, harms arising from the lost opportunity of enjoyment, in other words it becomes (harm-good) then goodness will always be irrelevant and the machine can kill it with ruthless efficiency.
This is only the first of my objections to incrementalism+harm minimization. It's the most important one, though. If the objective function is wrong, then it's not possible for the system to produce the right answers. It actually disputes what the right answer is - it's simply been told something wrong is right, and it seeks it. The most basic part of engineering is to define what the hell you want and get that right first. I won't even go into the other ones yet. The efficiency of the gun is really quite secondary to the basic question about which direction it's pointed.
In this analogy, the algorithm is society seeking solutions to drug policy. It's particularly about society using science to seek solutions to drug policy, via gradual iterative improvement, through an impartial and patient bureaucratic process, and the gradual pressure of concerned groups. To say that this system has no place even considering average-joe-six-pack's right to a high only confirms what I'm saying. If the system has no mechanism to take that into account, what on earth does? What's to stop it? I can only hope to raise consciousness to this logic. WE can stop it, if only we can see that there is something to stop. And we don't have to stop harm minimization. We just have to make it work on the whole objective.
Ben, I’ll be raising your points with Maia tomorrow.
Tycho - Awake
it's a funny thing...drugs as a health issue...I think capitalism is really bad for you all...anyway I am gett'n real sick of this middle class twaddle...so will vanish off...do dot your eyes cross your tees...elect some(one)...pay your over inflated mortgage...whatever..... and enjoy your police state
do dot your eyes cross your tees
Or cross your eyes and dope your tea.......all the same..........to one like me.
Shut your eyes and put your head in the sand......it will all go away......one day...some say... Hippy kai yay....