Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fentanyl: it's here

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  • Neil, in reply to steven crawford,

    What you have quoted doesn’t indicate Tim Harding having any direct experience of acute meth withdrawal.

    I’ve seen it and it’s essentially quite a few days of living hell. If you’re lucky that hell might get replaced by the somewhat lesser hell of acuphase. Anyone contemplating doing meth might want to look up the side effects of that as it could be the next drug they encounter.

    People do not just sleep off a meth binge.

    I have no problem with heroin or marijuana or exstasy or a number of other drugs. Their intrinsic harm is low. Some drugs are different. Pethadine is different enough to heroin to make the case for its legalisation more problematic. It has a shorter half life.

    It maybe too late but making available low risk drugs may crowd out the high risk ones.

    Since Nov 2016 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • tatjna,

    I think there is an argument for the value of access to lower risk drugs as a potential means of directing people away from higher risk ones. However, there will always be those who seek out the higher risk ones, and in my view that use is much less likely to be damaging if it happens in the light of day rather than in dark marginalised corners.

    And of course no discussion of risk is complete if we don't give alcohol a mention. Especially in terms of ER visits and violence towards others.

    These could be a bit off because they're from memory, but I think it's about 8% of regular meth users that end up on the problematic use spectrum. For alcohol is about 16%, for heroin about 24% . So really, while meth damage is the sexy topic right now, in context I don't think singling out meth contibutes to overall harm reduction in any useful way.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    What you have quoted doesn’t indicate Tim Harding having any direct experience of acute meth withdrawal.

    OK! lets leave that there then.

    I’ve seen it and it’s essentially quite a few days of living hell.

    I think what you might be talking about there is addiction. And I couldn’t agree more. That’s a horrible illness. Some call it a disease. If you get good and properly addicted to alcohol, your going to probably need to be hospitalised to manage the life threatening withdrawals. Heroin! It isn’t as uncommon as you might think for people to suicide during home detox from that. Even heavy dope smokers (who have become dependent) will have symptoms such as high anxiety. So yes addiction is real and it’s a shit thing.

    Not all people who buy alcohol from the supermarket become alcoholics. And not all alcoholics end up in an acute withdrawal situation. I don’t drink, because I’m an alcoholic. And I’ve learned over the years – but sometimes forget – that alcohol needs to be illegal, because of my addiction. But I’m still going to argue that it shouldn’t be marketed as an essential part of social life.

    And particularly, not on RNZ national…

    Anyway, when I go to the supermarket to buy my alcohol free beer. I know it’s alcohol free because it says so on the packet. I can drink that, get the kick out of standing right at the cliff edge, but not have to panic about losing my twenty three years of sobriety. And more importantly, I get to have a beer so I don’t feel like a vegetarian at the barbecue, and not reactivate the addiction. All because the thing is what the label says it is.

    I’d say, anyone who’s been addicted to meth would feel the same way about anything the doctor prescribed, the doctor would be careful not to prescribe anything meth to a meth addict and the pharmacist would be expected to not fuck it up. Ditto for opiates.

    So we live in pedantic times. I have to wear shoes just to operate a bandsaw at work. It’s crazy, I never put my feet near the blade! But that’s where we are at, and some of these pedantic health and safety protocols are saving thousands of people from premature death, and loss of functions. All of our food is carefully monitored to levels of sophistication that you could almost call it medicine. But we get to deside how much sugar, fat and salt we are eating, because we know what’s in the packet!

    There is always going to disobedience. There are always going to be people who drink the sugar drinks. There is a big difference between marketing something. Ie: if you drink this brand, you will be held in high regard, and won’t be expelled from the tribe. And ingredients labelling.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Helen Clark supports festival drug assays and supervised injecting rooms: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12017963

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

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