Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: People Take Drugs

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  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    I’m not so inclined to consider caveat emptor to be a sufficient mechanism to prevent harm. For substances that, when used responsibly, usually have minimal harm, then sure. But for substances like tobacco (and pokies, for that matter), all the warnings in the world can’t help you once you are addicted. For this kind of drug, you need to deal with the drivers of updake – which means the nearly ubiquitous nature of tobacco supply in our community. I would prefer to see it illegal to sell or import for supply, but legal to possess and legal to grow.

    The problem with that approach is that there will be some who do themselves harm. In the society I want to live in we will care for them within the public health system. Personally I'd like some of the cost of that care paid for by the user in the form of taxes or duties. Tax and duty also allows a reasonably easy way of moderating use - again for tobacco increasing the cost to the user is the single most effective way of reducing use. If you make it illegal to sell you lose that tool.

    public spaces is exactly where smokers congregate nowadays

    You missed the word essentially. Personally I would go for the rule they have in Davis CA, where you can't smoke within 50 feet of the entrance to a public building. Which means that you can't smoke anywhere in the centre of town. It will happen in NZ eventually.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich Lock,

    ‘Some lines for Labour’

    I actually almost titled that post 'Anybody want a line?'

    But I thought that would be an unhelpful distraction.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18700 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Soupy Sales redux....

    I actually almost titled that post
    ‘Anybody want a line?’

    What's my Line might've been apt, too...
    as one is hard pressed to know what Labour
    thinks its job is nowadays....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4660 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    But for substances like tobacco (and pokies, for that matter), all the warnings in the world can’t help you once you are addicted.

    Um, pokies are not a substance. Sometimes I wonder about the misuse of language.
    Addiction has got to be one of the more misused words, along with Codependency Y'know.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2581 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to steven crawford,

    Um, pokies are not a substance. Sometimes I wonder about the misuse of language.

    True. But they do trigger a similar dopamine response to a number of prominent drugs of addiction.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18700 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Update: we've rejigged the show slightly towards a theme of evidence-based policy and I'll also be talking to Mike Joy, the Massey environmental scientist whose warnings about our waterways were dismissed by John Key in the recent BBC Hard Talk interview.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18700 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell, in reply to Craig Young,

    However, I part company with portmanteau wholesale drug decriminalisation advocates over the issue of P/crystal meth. In that particular instance and that instance only, I'm afraid that measures like harm minimisation and risk reduction don't work.

    But neither does prohibition.

    I would happily argue that a health response (harm min and all that) does work for meth. And I'm hoping here we're not confusing 'harm minimisation' with 'decrim/legalisation' - we all know that they're different things, aye?

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 90 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Sorry Russell, I was editing when you posted that last post. What I say is that its helpful to recognize the difference between Addiction ( substance dependency) and compulsive behavior (compulsive gambling). This is in the interest of more complex thinking about these things.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2581 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Bell,

    But neither does prohibition.

    Indeed. In no sense does the government want to give a green light to methamphetamine, but that's not the same thing as proceeding with business as usual.

    Methamphetamine addicts need help, not criminalisation. The drug courts idea would seem to fit well there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18700 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to steven crawford,

    What I say is that its helpful to recognize the difference between Addiction ( substance dependency) and compulsive behavior (compulsive gambling). This is in the interest of more complex thinking about things.

    Fair enough, but my view is that pretty much the same thing is going on in the brain in both cases. And we know how junkies and P-heads get about the rituals around their drug consumption. They basically start getting high before the drugs get into their bodies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18700 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I'll also be talking to Mike Joy, the Massey environmental scientist whose warnings about our waterways were dismissed by John Key in the recent BBC Hard Talk interview.

    It's kind of incredible that no other major media outlet seems to have done this.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to 3410,

    It’s kind of incredible that no other major media outlet seems to have done this.

    We've just found one brief mention. Which includes a quote Joy says he didn't actually utter. Sheesh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18700 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Cigarettes are commonly used by the weak

    Liked this bit in that link ;)

    Yeah, because being told you're a moral weakling who just needs to pull his socks up is soooo helpful...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11859 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Methamphetamine addicts need help, not criminalisation.

    Yes, and we will also need to do something about reducing the numbers of people becoming addicted. Probably by looking at the style of marketing, but I don’t know if the old raise the pricing arguments hold much weight with this one.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2581 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They basically start getting high before the drugs get into their bodies.

    True, thats the compulsive aspect of addiction, which explains why addicts are not necessarily deterred by prison clean time.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2581 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The problem with that approach is that there will be some who do themselves harm. In the society I want to live in we will care for them within the public health system. Personally I’d like some of the cost of that care paid for by the user in the form of taxes or duties. Tax and duty also allows a reasonably easy way of moderating use – again for tobacco increasing the cost to the user is the single most effective way of reducing use.

    But strangely enough, you try replacing “tobacco” with “butter and sugar” in that delightfully high minded statement and you get looked at like you’ve suggested giving schoolchildren free milk… laced with angel dust. When will we shake off the malign profiteers off human misery that are Big Dairy?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11859 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We've just found one brief mention. Which includes a quote Joy says he didn't actually utter. Sheesh.

    I fear that Dr Joy will be the next Jim Salinger. He's had several opinion pieces in the Granny, but not a lot of MSM coverage. Nothing on the One News or 3News websites at all. Although, if it hasn't been mentioned already, Toby Manhire offers hope in his latest Listener column.

    Were you referring to the Granny article? Or the Stuff one?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4154 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    When will we shake off the malign profiteers off human misery that are Big Dairy?

    Well if this story is anything to go by.... I just want to know how they get them all to stand in a circle with the left teet out :) Do they step up to the plate for the good of the wo/man?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5991 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW, in reply to DeepRed,

    Toby Manhire offers hope in his latest Listener column.

    With handy link to HardTalk interview on YouTube. Nice quote -

    Sackur: Yeah but he[Mike Joy]’s a scientist, it’s based on research, it’s not an opinion he’s plucked from the air.

    Whereas John Key does pluck from the air his assertion of NZ's strong population growth notwithstanding flight of bright young people overseas - at 8.30-9.10 of part 1 he says - "... about 1990 New Zealand's population was 3 million, today it's 4.5 million". Really? No, 4.4 million and not due to reach 4.5 million for another 4 or 5 years at the current rate. And NZ's population reached 3 million in 1973 (old Yearbook tables).

    So his guess of 21 years for the increase from 3 to 4.5 M - should add about 100%. For a banker, he surely has numeracy problems, that 100% business especially tricksy.

    Yeah mumble, should be on the Lines for Labour thread ...

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 814 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’ll also be talking to Mike Joy

    ooo ooo ask him how he felt about being compared to a lawyer by a politician

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    in that delightfully high minded statement

    you say that like it's a bad thing

    Sugar yes - pretty easy to show that high sugar concentrations in food are bad and ought to be taxed to buggery

    Dairy is more problematic the evidence is confused at best with those bloody french demonstrating that eating cheese is good for you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I’ll also be talking to Mike Joy

    ooo ooo ask him how he felt about being compared to a lawyer by a politician

    I will be sure to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18700 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Cheese - & real butter- used with discretion, are real foods that taste good, and enhance our lives.

    Sugar? Meh-

    bless the bloody French, eh?

    However, the damage dairying does to our environment is extensively documented, and despite Mr SmilenWave@tehSuckers' best efforts, emphatically detracts from our nation's touted 'clean & green' image.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    in that delightfully high minded statement

    you say that like it’s a bad thing

    That is because it is. There is real meaning in the proverb 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions.'

    It's a pity that championing individual freedom has been co-opted by the right to mean 'ability to make a profit'. If people had any sense, it wouldn't just be the fringes opposing technocrats seeking to use taxes (and other means) to influence behaviour.

    George Orwell put it well: 'The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.'

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to vangam,

    As it is, the drug courts are currently restricted to youth offenders...

    Not sure where you get that information. None of the Australian ones of which I'm aware have that restriction. Victoria's, for instance, is wide-ranging and inclusive:

    The Drug Court sentences and supervises the treatment of serious offenders with drug or alcohol dependency who have committed an offence under the influence of drugs, or to support a drug or alcohol habit. An offender in the Drug Court is sentenced to a two-year Drug Treatment Order, which involves a suspended custodial sentence and a treatment program aimed at addressing the offender's substance abuse.

    ...who are, most likely, dealing with behavioural problems - the drug use is probably symptomatic of and peripheral to the real problems.

    Well effective Drug Courts have agencies who deal with more than just drugs. They tackle homelessness, joblessness, mental illness... whatever it takes to rehabilitate the offender without adding a criminal record to their list of problems.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

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