Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: People Take Drugs

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    But P does seem to have a higher attrition rate than anything else I’ve seen.

    I’d say it’s more that it becomes extremely noticeable when someone is abusing it. Hard to ignore people having psychotic episodes.

    It starts way before that, though. You know your friend has a P problem when you start having trouble bearing their company. They're not psychotic, just monumentally annoying, and have no perspective on their own behaviour.

    A psych nurse friend of mine observed that if you had a chink in your armour, P would find it. Ironically, he later developed a raging P habit and became so paranoid he installed surveillance cameras at his house. He was an experienced -- if not always wise -- drug user who up till that point had always been able to manage his lifestyle choices. P just flattened him.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yes, the kind of jabbering you hear from P heads has a real fingerprint.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Waugh, in reply to James Butler,

    Maybe the Police could piggy-back on the Air Force's helicopter training runs?

    Good luck on getting that one past Parliamentary services..... They take a dim view of anyone trying to borrow the pm's limo.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Fish,

    Any sensible political discourse relating to our drug laws has just become alot more unlikely with the selection of Mike Sabin as the National candidate for Northland. It is probable that he will be our next drug tzar / Minister of Police, and his 'lock em up and throw away the key' attitude to any (illegal) drug use doesn't bode well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Fish,

    Any sensible political discourse relating to our drug laws has just become alot more unlikely with the selection of Mike Sabin as the National candidate for Northland. It is probable that he will be our next drug tzar / Minister of Police, and his ‘lock em up and throw away the key’ attitude to any (illegal) drug use doesn’t bode well.

    You know, I'm actually not so sure. Sabin was conspicuous by his absence in discussion of the LawComm review -- and he really only needed to pick up the phone to get himself on Close Up. I'm not saying he's turning into Nandor Tanczos, but I do wonder if Sabin is toning it down a bit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, the kind of jabbering you hear from P heads has a real fingerprint.

    My theory is it induces people to vocalise their inner monologue. And in most cases, no one else really wants to hear that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    induces people to vocalise their inner monologue

    You mean like blogging?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Sabin was conspicuous by his absence in discussion of the LawComm review – and he really only needed to pick up the phone to get himself on Close Up.

    I guess he's got a new gig now.

    Some prohibitionists are addicted to it, others do it to make money.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • AThrift,

    Until yer average voter looses their government and media maintained fear of "drugs"; and politicians realise that, as butch as it sounds, you can't win a "War on Drugs" any more than you can poke fear in the eye there will be no progress out of this surreal situation.

    Alcohol, it goes without saying, is the nastiest of all poisons we choose to use and yet people don't see it as a drug, nor as the massive problem it is.

    And the main issue is why do humans want to get out of their trees, and what does this say about us, and how, if we agree we just gotta do it, can we do it as safely as possible?

    I no longer take any drugs, bar coffee (hey, I live in Wellington, I believe it's illegal not to here), but I see nothing wrong in others so doing, unless they try driving or hitting each other (or me). I do object to my tax money being spent on nicking people for getting high, as shown on that superbly silly programme "Drugs Bust'.

    Wellington • Since May 2011 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to Ian Fish,

    Any sensible political discourse relating to our drug laws has just become alot more unlikely with the selection of Mike Sabin as the National candidate for Northland.

    Yeah I'm with Russell in the "not so sure" corner. I was pointed (by a Kiwiblogger, of all people) to an exchange he'd had with some "zero tolerance" campaigner hoping to enlist his backing when he was running his business.

    His response amounted to "I'm a businessman, not a moral crusader" and "my business is about helping other businesses detect and deal appropriately with drug use by staff, not stake burning". That's the kind of pragmatic approach that, slightly altered to suit his new job, could be hugely positive.

    So there may be hope there... but I'd say he needs to be engaged with post haste (and we should probably try to avoid leaping to negative conclusions about him before he's had a chance to engage and proffer an opinion based on the information he's given... that just tends to annoy the person you're hoping to lobby).

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    induces people to vocalise their inner monologue

    You mean like blogging?

    More like Twitter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Britain's Channel 4 will be getting people to take drugs live on TV so everyone can look at them.
    It looks like being a non-useful exercise in stunt broadcasting.

    Could be useful if they get the right people.Say, chemo patients, might want to eat. I know it helped me tremendously to smoke weed on chemo, for many reasons.
    Could be interesting to show the differences with weed and alcohol or speed and heroin. I'd like to see that, (cos ya never know just how one looks personally) but I can also imagine the programme like being put in those stocks and a lead up to the flogging and execution CR is fond of for drinkers. ;). That wouldn't be very nice.
    Also Craig, there are lots of harmless drugs and some harmful. Remember prescriptions fall into both categories there. I'd suggest recreational drugs are mostly harmless in moderation but can definitely be harmful when used in abundance.Peer group pressure can be seen as encouragement no matter what drugs are being promoted and there is plenty of that in this society.

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rex Widerstrom,

    His response amounted to “I’m a businessman, not a moral crusader” and “my business is about helping other businesses detect and deal appropriately with drug use by staff, not stake burning”. That’s the kind of pragmatic approach that, slightly altered to suit his new job, could be hugely positive.

    I’d be cautious, but … proximity to evidence does tend to change people’s views. And to be fair, even as a campaigner, Sabin was genuinely about trying to help as well as make a buck. It’s just that most of his solutions were bonkers. Although even he professed to see drugs as a medical issue.

    Actually, another facet of the LawComm review that’s good: they haven’t fallen into the well-meaning trap of thinking everyone who gets busted with a joint or a pill needs intervention or “treatment”. Compulsory drug treatment/education is sorta better than criminal punishment, but it’s a massive waste of resources.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A friend related one experience with a P loving gf who tried all night to get him to help her write out all of the Lotto combinations, convinced there weren't that many. No argumentation sufficed to show her that Lotto already thought of that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Poole,

    Alcohol, it goes without saying, is the nastiest of all poisons we choose to use and yet people don't see it as a drug, nor as the massive problem it is.

    Worse than tobacco, which kills 50% of users when used exactly as intended?

    Not to say alcohol isn't particularly nasty, because it is. But you can use it with virtually no ill side effects - something we don't seem to be teaching our children.

    Since Dec 2008 • 161 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to BenWilson,

    Oh! That is a sad sad story!

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

  • Russell Brown,

    Readers may also be interested in Angus Macqueen's very good three-part documentary for Channel 4, Our Drugs War. It's on YouTube, first part here:

    You then can joining me in weeping that there are some places where an intelligent, provocative issues doco can screen in three parts on an actual television channel.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Simon Poole,

    Alcohol - along with mushrooms - is probably the oldest drug humans(and others)have used. BUT - it can be used in a way that it isnt harmful - and does enhance. All we need to do is pass this information on to younger generations.

    O, snap! Simon Poole-

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

  • Anonymous Author, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Fingerprint? Mmm hmmm.
    Blog and twitter? Yep.
    Inner monologue? It's partly what I am.
    Egads!
    Should I be concerned? I suppose so, as it's not unwise to be paranoid; a sense of the plot your life unfolds within can be beneficial.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • bmk,

    There is of course Terence McKenna's Stoned Ape Theory of Evolution.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    "an approval process managed by the Ministry of Health"
    I've been intrigued by this for a while - if we took a pure "fit for human consumption" angle on various drugs, would they all pass muster? Could the Ministry of Health really approve P as fit for consumption?
    And if they don't, aren't we just back in the same state we're in now? I suppose that if people genuinely believed that the "ban" decision was driven from a health-based, harm minimisation view that the illicit demand for it would be significantly reduced...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Islander,

    Oh! That is a sad sad story!

    And another... we had a flatmate found scrubbing the long hallway skirting boards with a toothbrush, naked, doing the old Macbeth "out though dammed spot" scenario, only to rip us off for a few grand within the next few days. with much other bullshit that went with it.
    Thing is, she was so nice in the beginning...:)

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

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    It depends where you set the threshold. But if something was to be stamped as "approved" by the state, wouldn't that put the government under some sort of moral obligation to ensure safety?

    Medicines are subject to a multi-phase clinical trial process that costs tens of millions for each substance. It's not clear to me whether such a process would even be ethical - is it acceptable in medical research to test a substance that isn't planned to be therapeutic on humans?

    If that sort of testing was done on new recreational substances, it would probably equate to a blanket ban on all of them. So we'd be back to illegality - or at best a grey market where substances were sold for spurious technical purposes, like cassette head cleaner.

    A compromise would possibly be for new substances to be required to register and publish their ingredients and pay a levy to fund research into safety. That information could then be used to drive safety-based warnings/bans.

    Of course, it would be easier if they'd just legalise MDMA and a few other things.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Medicines are subject to a multi-phase clinical trial process that costs tens of millions for each substance. It's not clear to me whether such a process would even be ethical - is it acceptable in medical research to test a substance that isn't planned to be therapeutic on humans?

    Most of the proposals for decriminalisation include variations of "let's decriminalise a few well-known, well-understood drugs to start with, in the hope that availability will discourage people from moving on to the harder/less safe ones". The top of the list is usually weed, which is pretty well understood - at least partially from trials specifically intended to establish therapeutic usefulness. It's a concern all right, but it's surmountable for at least the few best-known decriminalisation candidates.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    It depends where you set the threshold. But if something was to be stamped as "approved" by the state, wouldn't that put the government under some sort of moral obligation to ensure safety?

    Medicines are subject to a multi-phase clinical trial process that costs tens of millions for each substance. It's not clear to me whether such a process would even be ethical - is it acceptable in medical research to test a substance that isn't planned to be therapeutic on humans?

    For sure. Ideally, there would be an "at your own reasonable risk" standard -- with a requirement that risks be made explicitly clear -- and a pretty tight rein on means of sale.

    It's ambitious, but not crazily so. Methylone was basically cleared for sale by the Expert Advisory Committee until a consumer TV show got the MoH to look at it again, and the ruling was changed. I do grant that it's quite possible that the standard will be set so high that nothing will be approved.

    I've thought about this quite a lot: the risks associated with MDMA are relatively low already, and there have been many efforts to develop a less-neurotoxic alternative. Granting that people might like an empathogen on a Saturday night, and trying to find the best one would be quite an amazing step.

    I've been quite impressed with aspects of Stanz's approach. They actually recommended one of the chemicals that goes into the fake-pot products be banned, while two others be kept. The expert committee kept all three.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

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