Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: What the kids do

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  • andin, in reply to Damian Christie,

    Yeah this is where I have an issue with the “let’s treat it as a health problem not a criminal problem…” line of thinking – to an extent.

    That brings it to the individual at fault level, and you're on the defensive. Societies can be harmful to individual health or certain parts of it. As well as rogue individuals affecting those around them. Is there a bigger picture?
    Hell yes.

    .Stick out your finger to trace them just look at them all . . .
    The Soft Boys – Rock n’ Roll Toilet

    fingerpainting with poo….I know who’d do that..

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1212 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Damian Christie,

    Addiction is the health problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1190 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to DexterX,

    Addiction is the health problem.

    It can be. My business partner is a total computer games addict (the highest number of PlayStation trophies in the country, by quite a large margin), but it doesn't stop him being a functional, happy, well adjusted member of society. But other people, myself included, have suffered from it quite badly, in fact I'd say computer games have been my most serious addiction, have harmed my life more than anything else I've ever been "on", and I'm extremely wary of them now, quite careful to avoid the ones that tout themselves as addictive, because it is quite literally true.

    There are alcoholics who suffer very little harm from it other than gradual health problems. If you took alcohol away from them, they might go to pieces.

    Edit: The other very dangerous addiction worth mentioning is gambling. Most people who gamble have it under control and take joy out of it. But a proportion of people destroy their entire lives with it, and really quickly too. Those ones need help.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Again, you're assuming that everyone taking drugs is addicted, or that every drug is addictive. I know occasional P users, who are fine with it. I know people who have lost their lives due to P. The latter need to be treated for their health problems, I'm not convinced that the former need anything...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1129 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    This made me laugh - I was going to do a wee post on nature of addiction, the predisposition of a % of the populace to addiction, and criminal offending and found this:

    Monkey see monkey do - research - "where monkeys are trained to develop serious drug addition"

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/us-government-spends-millions-administering-street-drugs-to-monkeys-in-the-name-of-research.html

    I feel they could have got human volunteers - whether they would have paid above the adult minimum wage is another thing.

    Blah.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1190 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Such an important point. The majority of drug users use drugs not because they’re sick with anything, but because it’s fun.

    Precisely!

    And it’s where, I think, Harm Reduction/Minimisation policies (like we used to have at The Gathering for example) work well – because they neither condone nor condemn drug use – they acknowledge that some people do drugs (and that the majority do it cos it’s fun), and they provide as much eduction as possible into the potential effects of those drugs on people (physical, mental, emotional, legal etc).

    Once you have the knowledge, you can make an informed choice as opposed to an uniformed one, which makes a huge difference. An informed choice allows some people to choose to say no and gives them strength to resist peer pressure, and it also allows other people to choose to say yes, and to be fully informed about what they’re letting themselves in for – which can reduce the likelihood of a bad trip.

    The other main aspect of Harm Reduction is its provision of safe environments for everyone, whether they are taking drugs, or drinking alcohol or doing it straight or whatever – so that if it does all go pear-shaped, people have someone to turn to and somewhere safe to go where they can come down or sober up in supportive and non-judgemental surroundings.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    evil joys and foolish sorrows

    beautiful

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to webweaver,

    An informed choice allows some people to choose to say no and gives them strength to resist peer pressure

    It also gives the peer group power the ability to actually intervene where that would work. Recognizing people in trouble isn't something that's just automatic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to webweaver,

    Harm Reduction/Minimisation policies (like we used to have at The Gathering for example)

    Your team's lovingly detailed attention to creating a safe and supportive environment really impressed me - especially compared with the Big Day Out's inconsiderate suckiness a mere few weeks later, which put me off their event for good.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    It also gives the peer group power the ability to actually intervene where that would work. Recognizing people in trouble isn’t something that’s just automatic.

    Definitely – and that was something that really struck me about the atmosphere at TheG. Everyone was kind to everyone else. The whole “be nice humans” thing was something that had been established right from the start, before I joined the team, and I focused on it in all my publicity efforts and it became this amazing self-fulfilling prophesy where people actually were the best that they could be up on the hill – because we’d said that they were and we provided the environment where that was actively encouraged.

    We saw it in the fact that if you were having a sit-down having some water and getting your breath back, one out of every two people who passed by would stop and make sure you were ok.

    We saw it in the fact that people would bring their mates to our chill-out zone if they were having a bad time, and would stay with them while we helped to calm them down (only a very small number needed our help in this way, but it’s important to provide it). We also had an outreach crew on-site – experienced ex-trippers roaming the site who knew what a bad trip looked like and could help anyone who looked like they were having a bad time.

    We also saw it in the VERY pragmatic approach of the local police, who told me straight-out that they knew there would be a certain amount of drug-taking up on the hill, but that this was not really an issue for them, because they knew that a) we provided a safe environment and b) the drugs people were on did not precipitate a violent atmosphere in any way. Over New Year’s Eve they were FAR more worried about the alcohol intake of the local yoof down on the beaches and in town, and they were more than happy to leave us to our own devices up on the hill – accessible via RT if we needed them, but otherwise no police presence on-site at all.

    Your team’s lovingly detailed attention to creating a safe and supportive environment really impressed me – especially compared with the Big Day Out’s inconsiderate suckiness a mere few weeks later, which put me off their event for good.

    Thanks Sacha! It was important for us to provide a safe environment. When you’re organising an event like that, you take the safety of all your “guests” very seriously indeed.

    I think the thing that most surprised me about the success of our Harm Reduction approach was the response to the Kim Hill interview I did. We talked about drugs and our approach to them, and I basically said that TheG understood that some people would choose to use, and that rather than sticking our heads in the sand and pretend it wasn’t happening, we actively set out to create a safe environment for everyone.

    I said I felt this was a much more responsible approach to the issue than ignoring it and hoping for the best, and that I hoped parents would see that we did everything in our power to keep their teenagers safe at TheG.

    For months afterwards I would get comments from parents who told me how reassured they were by my interview, and how they’d decided to let their teenagers go to TheG because of what I’d said. Parents can be pragmatic and realistic too, if you allow them the space to behave that way rather than freaking them out with stories of reefer madness and other drug-related horrors.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to webweaver,

    Over New Year's Eve they were FAR more worried about the alcohol intake of the local yoof down on the beaches and in town

    I remember them doing a walkthrough for about half an hour and then zooming down to Motueka to deal with a boozy streetbrawl.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to webweaver,

    but otherwise no police presence on-site at all.

    I recall my first Glastonbury, in the years before the police were allowed onsite, and getting through the gate to discover a kind of market lane for recreational drugs. The thing that still makes me laugh was the guy calling Git yer Afghani ’ash ’ere!

    And yet it felt much safer than the Sweetwaters I’d been to in the years before. I can’t ever recall seeing violence of any kind at Glastonbury.

    Although a few people did get themselves in a mess. I recall one year wandering around at dawn and seeing one poor guy sitting, shivering and bug-eyed, outside one of the medical tents. Bad acid that year, apparently.

    As Elvis Costello signed off his Saturday headliner one year: “Good night, and don’t have too good a time out there …”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to webweaver,

    Everyone was kind to everyone else.

    That was important not just for those enjoying drugs, I should add. It really helped the year my father had recently died and I was struggling with some of my own responses at the time. Forever grateful.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes! I remember that particular pathway! Black ’ash, black ’ash, get yer black ’ash 'ere! – it was exactly like a street market with everyone calling out their wares.

    In the early days of my Glasto experiences (early 80s onwards before they brought the police onsite) it was all pretty mellow, but I seem to remember that pathway getting more and more full-on over the years, until I guess it was so overt that the police decided they had to do something about it.

    But even then, I remember the first couple of years of police presence (when you could still park your car next to your tent rather than having to park miles away) people would roll out of their tents in the morning, spark up and wave hello to the cops wandering past, who would respond with a cheery grin and carry on their way. Very civilised.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver, in reply to Sacha,

    Absolutely! And - you're very welcome.

    Being surrounded by thousands of people celebrating madly when you're not feeling the same way can be the loneliest experience in the world. Wandering alone around a large outdoor venue in the dark in the middle of the night looking for your mates can be upsetting and frightening. Breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend is an emotional experience at the best of times, and if you're in a strange place when it happens, it can be even more so. Trying drugs for the first time in an environment that's as full-on as TheG can be disorientating and unpleasant (which is why we always told people that wasn't a particularly good plan).

    All those situations and many more besides can turn your party into a real bummer experience, and that's a major reason why we had the chill-out zone and the health and welfare crew - not just to help people come down from a bad trip, but, more often, to be a helping hand and a shoulder to cry on if things just got too much to handle, for whatever reason.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I recall my first Glastonbury, in the years before the police were allowed onsite, and getting through the gate to discover a kind of market lane for recreational drugs. The thing that still makes me laugh was the guy calling Git yer Afghani ’ash ’ere!

    "Paaaaaandemic! I got ya paaaandemic!"

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Onna stick! And I'm cutting me own throat here...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 841 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    No link on the Herald site yet to Garth George's superbly reactionary effort on this topic (well, sort of on this topic, it rather shades off into solo parenthood and the DPB and abortion and other related mortal sins). I am bereft.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1557 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sam F,

    It’s there now: Garth George: I hope I’m dead and gone before drugs are legalised.

    Includes the lines:

    the unborn child (euphemistically called a fetus)

    And:

    The easier you make it to get at forbidden fruit, the more people will want a taste.

    So awesome.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18839 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It’s there now: Garth George: I hope I’m dead and gone before drugs are legalised.

    Must… resist… urge… to… be… mean-spirited. Thankfully, Jacinda Adern & Nikki Kaye’s tag-team fudge on marriage equality contained my rage. (And, FFS, Broadsides was the best column name they could come up with? Was 'Catfight' already taken?)

    Do newspapers accrue karmic debts – because the New Zealand Herald is on track to be reincarnated as some particularly nasty canine parasite.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11931 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I hope I’m dead and gone before drugs are legalised.

    That's one hell of a dangerous thing to wish for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    I hope I’m dead and gone before drugs are legalised.
    That’s one hell of a dangerous thing to wish for.

    Especially if the TPPA goes through and Pharmac is legally restrained from making even legal medicinal drugs - that a deteriorating geriatric might need - priced beyond reach...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4878 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sam F,

    Garth George's superbly reactionary effort

    Was he ever a young man, or born a codger eternal?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    That’s one hell of a dangerous thing to wish for.

    You said it, not me. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11931 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I did. But I'm pretty sure, when the time comes, and drug policy shifts towards good sense, that Garth George will not really find life no longer worth living. Or if he does, it won't be because of that. "Over my dead body" claims are so often given for things that people wouldn't really be prepared to die for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

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