Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Diary: That Dark Feeling

DIARY: I woke as normal feeling a bit flat, thought about how heroin would make me feel better and then got on with the day. I had so much work to catch up on and the pressure of only one paying job made my work laborious. By mid morning I felt even worse and I noticed my methadone had not really kicked in so when luchtime came around, any normality that I was going to experience for the day had definitely gone. I eagerly made lunch hoping that some food and an episode of Bill Mayer's Real Time might pick me up. It didn't except for the funny moments in Real Time and I went back to work after 15 minutes. I thought maybe pouring through the online newspapers might inspire me but that was the worse idea I had. I went to the Herald-Sun and waiting for me was a huge police mugshot of Wayne Carey and some headline about Carey's fall from grace or the shame Carey had brought on himself. It was just sickening ... so much hyped up moralising and typical media parenting from some bunch of holy noble knobs. Then Andrew Bolt ... man he's a fuckhead ... always antagonising, always moralising, always looking for an angle, forever obdurate. Cynical of anyone thoughtful or clever, demoralising those who want to fix this crumby world and give it some shine, always on the lookout for those naive losers who feel we need to balance our natural resources. How depressing. Next newspaper, there's Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church wanting to picket Heath Ledger's funeral with "He's in Hell" banners. There's The Daily Telegraph wanting to explain dual diagnosis / mental health and drug addiction in a few paragraphs that will help Amy Winehouse get better. There's bozzo, Christine Nixon dribbling about something else that makes no sense but somehow a few of the newspapers turn it into a national referendum question. Oh stop right now ... no more. Things did get worse during the day but finally I was able to get some medication. I don't care about cutting back anymore just like I don't care about dropping my methadone. If I had the money I would simply go off methadone and use heroin. My life would become so much more manageable and the dark feeling of depression would be replaced with a level of normality that I crave for so bad.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Obama on Drugs

Obama on Drugs Barrck Obama won the Democrats South Carolina primary today by a whopping 54% It was double that of closest Democrat, Hillary Clinton at 27% I was starting to think Hillary was going to continue her romp to the November election as the Democrats candidate and probably president of the US. What a relief! Hillary is just more of the same we are used to in American politics and being a democrat no longer means what it used to. The need for America to vote in some fresh blood and usher in some change is not just a slogan but a reality. With Blair and Howard gone, there needs to be an even bigger clean out of the nation that dictates so much world influence. My main hope is that the bizarre 'War on Drugs' gets to be properly debated as a growing power base has started to question the tactics that have failed so miserably. Obama has stated publicly that he doesn't want to legalise drugs but has hinted at revisiting the US policy. I have no idea if full legalisation would work but something has to be done and with the exception of Republican, Ron Paul, no other presidential contender would make any positive changes. Obama has admitted to using drugs several times and is often quizzed about his book "Dreams From My Father". He wrote that he had used marijuana and cocaine. He said he had not tried heroin because he did not like the pusher who was trying to sell it to him. "I had learned not to care," he wrote. 
"I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though. ..." 
("Blow" is a street name for cocaine. "Smack" is slang for heroin.) 
At Central High School in New Hampshire, he was asked to give the students a sense of his "human side," and what his life was like when he was in school. 
"I will confess to you that I was kind of a goof-off in high school ... I made some bad decisions that I've written about. There were times when I got into drinking and experimented with drugs ... There was a whole stretch of time when I didn't really apply myself a lot." Jay Leno asked him in Dec. 2006 if he smoked marijuana. 
"Not recently, that was in high school" Obama responded. Leno then asked, "Did you inhale?" alluding to Bill Clinton's famous dodge. "That was the point," Obama said.
I find it easy to like this man. He is not afraid to tell the truth and approaches subjects like drug use completely in contrast to other US politicians. In 2001, Obama questioned the tough penalties for drug dealing, pointing out that selling 15 tablets of Ecstasy was the same class of felony as raping a woman at knifepoint.
And this common sense discussion that must have had the conservatives ranting... We need to tackle the nexus of unemployment and crime in the inner city. The conventional wisdom is that most unemployed inner-city men could find jobs if they really wanted to work; that they inevitably prefer drug dealing, with its attendant risks but potential profits, to the low-paying jobs that their lack of skill warrants. In fact, economists who've studied the issue--and the young men whose fates are at stake--will tell you that the costs and benefits of the street life don't match the popular mythology: At the bottom or even the middle ranks of the industry, drug dealing is a minimum-wage affair. For many inner-city men, what prevents gainful employment is not simply the absence of motivation to get off the streets but the absence of a job history or any marketable skills--and, increasingly, the stigma of a prison record. We can assume that with lawful work available for young men now in the drug trade, crime in any community would drop. -Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.257-259 Oct 1, 2006 Interestingly, Obama does not want to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18. The other titbit of information is that amazingly, Obama is a cigarette smoker. I have not seen a political leader admit to being a smoker for a long long time. I am sure this will become a key issue if he wins the Democrats pre selection. How can someone run a country if they are so weak that they can't even give up cigarettes? or if he can't give up nicotine ... can he give up his drugs? We'll see.

Diary: A few Hours of Normality

Today I realised something. I was able to quantify how long I felt normal for ... one - two hours. After taking my methadone at 9:05am, I was feeling the best I would feel all day at 10:30am. This is where I sit in front of my PC and try to soak up as much good feeling as I can before it runs out. Today I was more tired than normal so I nodded off a few times. I think I try to do this subconsciously because snapping out of a nod is like waking up from a 15 minute 'power nap'. You get about 5 seconds of being super refreshed before the reality of chores ahead start filling your thoughts.
I use this time to do work normally but being the weekend, I get to catch up on some favourite sites and try to focus on this feeling of well being. I watch the time carefully realising the more you watch time, the slower it gets. I get disappointed when 30 minutes fly by as it is getting closer to the dark cloud arriving that takes away my elated feeling of normality. Well it's nearly over now and I can feel that familiar cloud of depression approaching. It's like when you have had a few drinks ready for a big night and you have to go home. There is some kind of disappointment that one more drink would fix until it's time to leave again. It's like having a bad toothache and taking a pain killer. As the pain killer takes hold, you can feel actual relief. It's a great relief from the pain and you can feel the waves of relief working until the pain is gone. After a few hours, you start to feel the pain again. Waves of the opposite this time ... waves of pain breaking through. Each time the pain breaks through you desperately wait for it to go away and the pain killer takes over again. This gets less with each cycle until you are back to the misery of pain. This is my day ... everyday.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Home Grown Wisdom

Some Great and Not So Great Comments 
I often read really scary comments from readers in the feedback section of the local newspapers. Of course my speciality is drug policy and the many brainwashed opinions of our misguided population. The last pinnacle was the 'drugs in sport' period where John Howard needed some sort of 'Children Overboard' type issue to catch a few redneck votes. The opinions came in fast and furious as every sports star became reluctant ambassadors for our children's morals. It became quite easy to catch support as Ben Cousins kept the debate alive and Andrew Johns meek drug confessions kept the moralist pumped up for more media preaching than we deserved. Funny thing is now that Howard is gone, so is the all so important issue of drugs in sport. Even Marion Jones copping jail only got limited coverage in this so called sports mad nation Howard kept telling us we lived in. The death of Heath Ledger has reinvigorated those suburban drug experts and they're back out in force giving us their wisdom in the online feedback pages. Below is a cross section from several papers of those those thoughtful, well informed and compassionate comments:
Sorry to hear about his death, he seemed to me to never be a happy person, he always blew up at the media and seemed to turn his back on his home country Australia. This is a good lesson for drugs, celebrities can die from them too.
-James of Sydney
To Heath - What were you thinking - you take drugs - you overdose - YOU DIE -just because you are a star does not make you infallible - hopefully you have at least taught other young people to leave the crazy drugs alone -
-Popeye of Brighton, Melbourne
Something is definitely wrong in Hollywood these days. Just because you can be given drugs to ease the pain doesn’t mean that you should take them and in excess.  Life is hard and it’s meant to be.
-Trace-O of The City of Sydney
Damned drug! How can such a wonderful actor, man be so naive to use drug and overdose him. And leaving a 2-years-old daughter behind him. Stupid Hollywood! I ask myself is it possible those people to be our kids role models??? Look at that Britney Spears. She is such a shame.
He was a great actor, after all. 
-Poland Mother
To Everyone who is jumping the gun,
There has been no confirmation that Heath died of an OD, nor that he was on drugs! Let the poor guy rest in peace, He was an amazing actor who touched a lot of people and to tar him with the same brush as an illicit drug user is wrong. My thoughts are with his family and friends they do not need speculation to add to their grief. He will be sadly missed.
He might have been able to act, but it turns out he was a druggie and a bloody idiot.
What’s with all this sympathy? 
Anyone who leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter because of a drug problem doesn’t garner any sympathy from me. Was a daughter and an illustrious career not quite enough to live for?? 
Another spoilt celebrity.
...anyone in his position that needs to turn to drugs for MORE stimulation deserves everything they get. At least other drug users probably have a valid reason for wanting to escape their dreadful lives for a while - whats your excuse Heath?
... I greatly appreciated Heath’s work, and it is awful to see him lose his life to something as silly as drugs ...
This bloke topped himself whether in the process of seeking a high or seeking his own death is neither here nor there. There is no way you can overdose accidently unless you can’t read or come from some obscure part of the world where the normal dose of tablets is 50 a day? Rightly his family has everyone’s sympathy but they should await the result of autopsy and if it’s death by misadventure through drug use they should become anti-drug voices rather than sweep it under the carpet by calling it accidental.
Just another actor with a drug problem. Who cares. You’d think it was Phar Lap.Give us a break.
Another junkie bites the or illegal drug not the point...lets mourn the the hundreds of thousands of children that die prematurely each year...not another dead movie star who did f… all for anyone but himself!
Health: 7/10
Hanging out: 7/10 
Methadone dosage: 75ml

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Does the US Prefer Terrorism to Treating Addicts?

I was reading Tim Dunlop's Blogocracy and their was a pointer to a story about Iraqi farmers putting in opium poppy fields. Of course I had to add my comment:

The US sure are good at war - Vietnam war, Afghan war, Iraqi war, war on terror and my fav ... the war on drugs.

The only reason these opium poppies have a value is because of drug prohibition that is so strongly enforced by the US via the 'War on Drugs'. An estimated $400 billion is made by drug criminals each year. Put that in prospective - 8% of world trade is illicit drugs and over the next 10 years, 4 trillion dollars will be made by organised crime illegally selling drugs. A lot of money available to be used by terrorists if so pursued.

I wonder if the brains trust in Washington can get past their moral convictions and weigh up whether treating drugs addicts is more important than terrorism. The problem and the solution is simple. Give heroin addicts prescription heroin and organised crime selling heroin will go out of business. No more opium fields, no more opium drug lords, no more sqillions of dollars available for terrorists. What really amazes me is that other countries do it now yet it's the US who keep these drugs lords in business. Canada, England, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany give their long term addicts prescription heroin. Even Iran has taken on board help from the Swiss and might be prescribing heroin as a treatment. Results for addicts health and social integration has been stunning and drug related crime has dropped significantly. Also, dealers are losing their main cliental to prescription heroin so they stop supplying it ... Result: very few new users and no profits for drug lords. So what's the choice ... Treatment or Terrorism?

The idea that funding for terrorism from opium can be slowed or even halted must be tempting? Yet why do they stick to their unrealistic drug policies so tightly but demand the world follow their lead on fighting terrorism ... at any cost. The US have a reputation for avoiding the root a problem and use words like 'democracy', 'freedom' and 'liberty' to justify their often controversial actions.

The lesson learnt from Afghanistan poppy fields and the attempted annihilation of cocaine plantations in Latin America is that it can't be stopped. No amount of money or intervention will do it. Crops just move from one place to the next. Turning these poppy fields in Iraq & Afghanistan into a legitimate business for the worlds addicts would create economic growth for the farmers and related industries. It would earn tax revenue and help stabilise the area with a unique product that doesn't have a huge value on the black market. That would win more hearts & minds for the US than burning down their farms, that I am sure of. 

The 'War on Drugs' is hindering the 'War on Terror'. The question is, which is the more important?.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Survey: Heroin Trials in Australia

If a heroin trial comes up for debate in parliament again, I want to know who supports it before the pressure to conform is applied. Remember The Federal Health Minister, Michael Wooldridge. In 1997, he was a big supporter before Howard got to him and suddenly he was against it. 
I am sending emails to politicians, doctors, media and other people who may have influence. At last count, 45% of the population supported a heroin trial. The 1997 trials were supported by The AMA, The Federal Health Minister,The Commonwealth Government, NSW, Vic, SA, Tas and the ACT and they voted for the trials to go ahead. It was John Howard himself who rejected the trials.
The feedback is going to be very interesting as many countries have now concluded their trials. Every trial has proved that prescription heroin is far superior as a treatment for long term heroin addiction than the current treatments available.
The survey is a permanent link on the right side of this blog.

Diary: The People You Meet

Diary: The People You Meet...
The other day as I was picking up my methadone, some guy ran up to me and asked for $4.60 because he was short for a prescription. I instinctively  said "no money" and made up some lame excuse. Hang on, I wasn't making an excuse ... I had no money. Well actually I had $5 for petrol and for some reason I gave it to him. I followed him into the chemist to make sure and he went straight to the methadone dispensory. Oh, I thought, that type of prescription. I was glad I helped as I know a day without methadone is the worst hell there is. Everything has a price though and returning home without petrol only to get an earful from Angela was that price.
Anyway, I went to get my methadone as usual today and he was there. I had a quick chat and another methadone patient got in on the conversation. This was a surprise as after nearly 10 years of getting methadone, I had never spoken to another patient ever. Each of us had such different backgrounds and yet we were all in the same situation. 
One guy was 60 years old with a speed and diazepam history. He went to heroin to kick his speed habit. Speed is my choice of drugs if I had to take one but having to use it nearly everyday would burn your brain out. He was more in need of a partner than anything and told us "love is a drug too, y'know".
The other guy was a single Dad and was considering a computer/business course. I asked how having a young child would complicate matters when prioritising money over heroin but he seemed a bit confused as if there was no alternative to being a father first. He then mentioned that if he hadn't taken over custody, his child might be dead by now if left with the mother. I had seen this guy regularly for years but never knew one thing about him. Now after 2 minutes, I knew the most important things in his life. He then told me his name, shook hands and left.
That's the irony of drugs, like HIV/AIDS, there are no boundaries in place. The much publicised images of junkies with dark eyes, laying in gutters is the work of politicians and moralists who cannot except that 'normal' people can be inflicted because they are stronger than junkies.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Great Articles

Great Article in the Herald-Sun

At last, some well researched artciles are starting appear in some mainstream media. Beware of booze on the brain , has Dr Greg Whelan discuss how addicts have different brains from non addicts and if exposed to drugs or alcohol, "it can be a life sentence and source of physical, social and economic problems.  Dr Greg Whelan is the Professor of Addictive Medicine at Melbourne and Monash Universities and is Medical Director of Victoria Addiction Centre.

More Great Artciles

Firesnake and DFA Watch are excellent sites blogged by the Paul Gallagher. Very insightful stuff and compulsory reading.

These wonderful articles on the religious right are available at Firesnake website.

Australias Religious Right: Part 1

Australias Religious Right: Part 2

Even More Great Artciles

Every now and then you read a summary on why drug prohibition is failing. I stumbled on this and was blown away with the clarity and logic for all to comprehend a complex issue.

The Drugs Menace and its Solution by Elizabeth Krantz

Diary: Dirty Hits


I had a hit last night. Mmm a nice and yummy shot of heroin cut with god knows what, made in some dubious jungle laboratory in Burma. It was great, I felt dreamy for about 1 minute and then I felt human for the rest of the evening.

Today though... urrrr. I get this every time now I use heroin. I get hot/cold and feel like shite. The only cure is sleep, so I slept on and off until nearly 4pm today. My dealer says it's a dirty hit but I cleaned everything very carefully, washed my hands etc. I now get scared every time I use ... more shit to deal with!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Morphine instead of Methadone? and Alan Jones is Right(For Once)

I am so sick of methadone!
I had to put up my dose by 10ml to 70ml just to get some relief. Relief came for a few days but it's gone again. The screaming need for some peace in my life has been unbearable lately. I cannot work properly, I wake up every few hours at night and then fall asleep in front of computer which makes me so tired the next day and I cannot work properly again. 
I need to get high ... extra methadone or heroin.
I need the feeling of normality that opiates bring me. I know I am never going to get that initial buzz but to be honest, that's not what I'm after. I want to feel ... anything remotely normal, like other folks who get it naturally, who don't have to pay for it. Sure, I'll take the initial 5-15 minutes of the heroin buzz as a bonus but that's not enough. I want to know I can have another dose during the day. Dream on, Terry.
Replacement Treatment Using Morphine? I noticed at the International Center for Advancement of Addiction Treatment (ICAAT) website, that listed under opiate addiction treatments for Australia, it classes morphine as a treatment. I went to my doctor who prescribes my methadone and asked him if that was true. He was unaware that it was a legal treatment in Australia and told me that no opiates could be prescribed just for the treatment of addiction except the usual suspects, methadone and buprenorphine. Anyway, he wrote me a referral for a specialist mentioning morphine as a possible alternative to methadone. This specialist deals with "pharmacotherapy patients with significant medical, psychiatric and/or psychosocial problems". I have an appoinment in a few weeks. I will keep you updated.
A Glimmer of Hope
Did you know Alan Jones, the ultra conservative shock jock from 2GB actually supports a heroin trial. Yes, back im 1988, he publicly spoke about how he was wrong condoning a trial and the current tough approach was not working. I wonder why John Howard didn't take his advice on this one?
A Glimmer Of Hope  was found on Family Drug Support's website. FDS is a fantastic organisation run by veteran reformer and all round good guy,Tony Trimingham.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

The Danger of the U.S. on us all

The effects of U.S. culture are clearly seen in most countries and Australia is no exception. Entertainment and fashion are the obvious influences but what about corporate and political influence? I can live with some American corporate icons as being global enterprises trying to make a buck but I draw the line at WalMart or Nike that are known for their human rights violations. American mega-corporations have also created a new catch-phrase you now hear so often from our Australia companies via the CEO, "we have a responsibility to our shareholders". The excuse for shredding customers into tiny pieces of profit. The other issue that influences our lives just as much but evades our daily thinking is drug prohibition. The idea that illicit drugs could be bought freely in chemists is extremely foreign to us or the idea that taking ecstasy before going to a night club is legal just isn't comprehendible to most people. But why? Contrary to popular belief, removing strict drug prohibition would not cause a huge increase of drug use. We would not be tripping over junkies in the street nor would any other drug nightmare happen. This is just what the U.S. wants us to think ... and we do. Did the removal of alcohol prohibition in the U.S. cause the world to slip into mass alcoholism? Ordinary people do not over use alcohol just because it's legal. The same is for drug use. Illegal drugs are readily available and can be obtained easily now, so why would the removal of prohibition change that? We already know the dangers of drugs so the dumbed down argument that citizens would just blindly start abusing any drug and every drug in volumes is just ludicrous. It doesn't happen with alcohol which is highly addictive so why would it happen with most drugs. Despite the U.S. led, "War on Drugs" costing the U.S. alone over 1.3 trillion dollars so far, drugs are easier to get, more pure and cheaper to buy. More than 2.2 million U.S. citizens are in jail and over half are for drug crimes yet drug use doesn't drop. The U.S. "War on Drugs" gives crime cartels worldwide an estimated 400 billion dollars worth of business every year. The mortality rate for drug crimes (gang/organised crime) not involving overdoes is in the up 100,000 every year. This policy would have to be the biggest failure in U.S. history. Even worse, it causes more death and carnage to peoples lives than any non war policy ever. So why do governments like Australia's government keep following the U.S. lead? More importantly, why do countries with a highly educated population like Australia, fail to see the obvious? The facts are all there and extremely easy to find ... just Google it. UN decisions on international drug policy is mostly designed around U.S. federal legislation. The U.S. basically dictates what the UN deems as international conventions. Almost every nation has signed the UN conventions, yet there has never been a serious international debate about whether prohibition should be the basic method of dealing with drug problems. Any country that tries to break free from the UN or U.S. policy is immediately cast as being 'soft on drugs' and subjected to heavy handed reprisals including blackmail. When Australia was to have a heroin trial in the 1990s, a visit from the U.S's top international drug enforcer, Bob Gelbard warned us that it was not in our interest to proceed with something that was so polar to their "War on Drugs". They warned that if Australia went ahead, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) might embargo Tasmania's opium poppy industry. The warning was strong enough to halt the trials. When the Dutch changed policy to Harm Minimisation that provided clean needles to heroin addicts, allowed the sale of marijuana in highly regulated shops and the overlooking of possession for small amounts of illicit drugs, the U.S. went troppo. They made up false figures and released them as evidence that the Dutch drug policy was "an unmitigated disaster". The U.S. claimed, "Dutch teenagers used marijuana at three times the rate of American teens, The murder rate in Holland is double that in the United States. The per-capita crime rates are much higher than the United States—that's drugs.". It was all a lie. Most research shows that Dutch teenagers use marijuana much less than American teens. The American murder rate is 450% higher than the Dutch rate and the rate of heroin abuse (considered a key drug indicator) is nearly 300% higher in the United States than in Holland. The United States also worked behind the scenes to internationalize its prohibition efforts—sometimes using questionable pressure tactics. Charles Siragusa, an American narcotics agent during the early years of international prohibition, noted in his 1966 memoirs that foreign police almost always worked willingly with us. It was their superiors in government who were sometimes unhappy that we had entered their countries. Most of the time, though, I found that a casual mention of the possibility of shutting off our foreign aid programs, dropped in the proper quarters, brought grudging permission for our operations almost immediately. The Last Word on the Drug War By Dan Gardiner, The Vancouver Sun The U.S. often uses foreign aid as a tool to expand American drug policies. The 1984 National Drug Strategy for Prevention of Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking stated that "U.S. decisions on foreign aid and other matters should be tied to the willingness of the recipient country to execute vigorous enforcement programs against narcotic traffickers." In 1980, the U.S. stopped most foreign aid to Bolivia when it declared the Bolivian government was 'unresponsive' to American demands for cocaine control. The UN's World Health Organization (WHO) commissioned a report on cocaine use in the early 1990s. It was an extensive research project using dozens of experts in 22 cities and 19 countries and was finished in 1995. But for some mysterious reason, the WHO decided the report was technically unsound and it was never released. The WHO declared it had no plans to do further research on cocaine. The unreleased document is critical of existing drug policies and many of the beliefs about cocaine that support those policies. Among its startling conclusions:—Occasional cocaine use, not intensive or compulsive consumption, is the most typical pattern of cocaine use.—Most participating countries agree that occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to severe or even minor physical or social problems.—The chewing of coca leaves by South American aboriginals appears to have no negative health effects and has positive, therapeutic, sacred and social functions. According to the former UNDCP official, this landmark report was withheld because the United States pressed the WHO to bury it. If it was released, American officials warned, the United States would pull its funding from the section of WHO responsible for the report. The U.S. state department would not comment on this allegation. However, WHO official Hartl confirms that this threat was made. In a May 1995 meeting, according to the WHO's records, Neil Boyer, the American representative to the organization, took the view that [the WHO's] program on substance abuse supported the legalization of drugs. Boyer concluded that if WHO activities relating to drugs failed to reinforce proven drug-control approaches, funds for the relevant programs should be curtailed. The Last Word on the Drug War By Dan Gardiner, The Vancouver Sun In 2006, a bill in the Mexican Senate that would decriminalise the possession of small amounts of drugs was passed in both the Mexican Senate and Congress. President Vicente Fox declared nationally that he would sign it into law the next day. His office said that decriminalising drugs will free up police to focus on major dealers. “This law gives police and prosecutors better legal tools to combat drug crimes that do so much damage to our youth and children,”. The U.S. intervened and after strong objections from Washington, President Vicente Fox had a change of heart and announced a few days later that he would not proceed to sign the bill after all. There's no point even discussing Latin America because it has been documented so many times that the U.S. do whatever they want with these countries. Plan Columbia, a neocon's dream was eventually exposed for a U.S. plan to mange the Columbia government and showed how the CIA actually smuggled cocaine into the U.S. to pay for the operation. Panamanian ex-leader Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities that he was heavily involved in drug trafficking. There can be no sensible debate on Latin American drug policy when the so called 'local sherif' of drug prohibition contradicts their own policies. The "War on Drugs" is over ... we lost. 
When will sensible drug policies be publicly debated amongst experts? I don't mean a silly television chit-chat special made up of lobby groups, the public, religious leaders or moral zealots but real experts who don't bend to politics or so called moralists. Experts with scientific or medical backgrounds, social and welfare workers, addiction specialists etc. These issues has cost so many lives and have ruined millions more. The cost of the "War on Drugs" could feed the world for years and eliminate poverty forever. It causes most of the world's crime and put millions of non violent drug users in jail. 
Drug policy can't be forced on us by the U.S. who are corrupt, self-serving and liars. They have proved over the last 35, that their deontological actions in the name of the "War on Drugs" are draconian and have failed dismally. Their portrayal as 'the fighters for liberty' is hypocritical at best and the "War on Drugs" is completely against their own constitution they hold so dearly. 
For a country that has such a high number of Christians and the unusual requirement that their leaders have to be strongly religious shows up the "War on Drugs" as the political tool it really is. No real Christian nation with selfless morals who follow the real meaning of their god would accommodate such a cruel and divisive policy. Only Christian extremists and American evangelists have the nerve to claim such cruelty is neccessary. They wouldn't make treatment the minor part of the policy and would not ruin so many lives with such aggressive punishments. How such as a policy can be condoned let alone adopted is beyond reason.
It also can't be left to politicians who have to play a game of popularity and it definitely can't be left to moralists and religion that have their own greedy agenda. It's time for policy makers to learn from history and implement startegies that deal with reality and how best to help those effected.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Who are Drug Free Australia (DFA)?

About DFA (In their own words)

Drug Free Australia is a peak body, representing organizations and individuals who value the health and wellbeing of our nation. It plays a key role as a community voice, staying in touch with every day Australians -  families and young people - via newsletters, community forums and the media, to ensure a clear message of healthy, drug free lifestyles is assured for generations to come.

It sounds very noble that this organisation is 'dealing with everyday Australians' and keeping us free from a life of drugs and pain. There is a feeling of warmth in this family orientated organisation with pictures of smiling, healthy teenagers and messages of a 'free lifestyle without drugs'. But under the facade, there lies an agenda. An agenda by religious extremists and political lobbyists to implement a cruel and unrealistic policy called Harm Prevention (HP).
Harm prevention is how a modern westernised nation would apply a harsh drug policy from strictly religious countries. The difference being, Australia can't be seen to have religion dictate a medical/scientific issue so HP is modified to trick the public into thinking that more humane policies like Harm Minimisation (HM) are 'soft on drugs'. Yes, you recall the comment, 'soft on drugs' being made by politicians trying to slam their opposition. HP forces drug use into the realm of law & order to keep up the rhetoric of the U.S. style 'War on Drugs'. 
Harm Minimisation has been a successful policy in Australia since 1985 and put us at the forefront to fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. Needle exchanges and the push to use condoms was fairly radical when introduced but it is now common practice for most western countries. HM uses common sense practices based on real world situations to protect drug users from harm. It accepts that drug use is part of society regardless of legality and it is better to acknowledge this than to ignore it. If someone is going to use drugs, then it's better to do it safely than to force them into sharing needles or other dangerous situations. HM is a realistic policy based on research and science rather than opinion or religious views.
I sometimes visit the site, DFA Watch and read about DFA's latest efforts to spread dis-information. This got me thinking recently ... who actually is DFA? Who are the board members? Who heads it up? I did some simple research via Google and as I already knew, most of the board are religious. Actually, some members are extremely religious including evangelists and other crackpots. Most members are extremely homophobic and some members are hate mongers. They are the last bunch of freaks you would want to care for you. 
For your amusement, here they are (In no particular order of wackiness):
Margaret Court
DFA Patron
Margaret Court, the famous tennis champ, turned Pastor is the new patron replacing MP Ann Bressington. She has her own ministry and is a TV evangelist with a show called Margaret Court Television
Margaret Court Television is an evangelistic program to establish the Word of God in the lives of millions of people. Margaret Court is passionate about: Seeing people's lives changed and helping people reach their full potential by the power of the message of Jesus Christ.
  • Healing the faithful on stage
  • Not healing the faithful on stage
"lesbian tennis players 'snared' their counterparts into homosexuality."
"Mohammed didn't die for you. Buddha didn't die for you. Only Jesus died for you."
-August 2005
Our Winning Position - In this book you'll learn about all the rest He has done for you. You will learn about your winning position in Jesus. In Him, God has already made you pure and holy. In Him, you already have everything that pertains to life. In Him, you already have the keys to the Kingdom. Do you want to walk in the fullness of everything god has for you? Of course you do! Who wouldn't. - Price: $11.00
Winning Faith - This is the eagerly awaited book of Margaret Court's climb to fame as possibly the greatest ladies tennis player of all time having won 64 Grand Slam titles during her brilliant career. After her conversion to Christianity the same zeal and commitment that took her to the top in tennis is now evidenced in her desire to help the needy and spread the Gospel of Christ. She ministers throughout Australia and many countries around the world. - Price: $14.25
An extract from one persons experience at a CityLife Christian event with Margaret Court.
By: Adam Fenderson
...she channels that anger inward for the climax of the whole show: the healing. It operates at first like a demented game of bingo. Margaret calls out a lucky ailment and uses what presumably are her God-okayed psychic powers to detect the pain. 'I feel...' she says as she looks around the audience, 'I feel there's some people out there with pain in their hip ... right hip ... put your hand up ...' Some people put their hands up. 'OK, come on down to the front.' This time people rise. Neck pain gets lucky too.      The sore and wounded line up, with a row of people behind them. After some quiet talk to each patient off-mic, Margaret puts her hand on their heads meaningfully, as if banishing a bad spirit. The believer, shaking, falls back into the arms behind them. It's like electroconvulsive therapy except the current is God's love channeled through an ex-tennis player from Perth. Not everyone seems to feel it though, and despite the burst of Godvolts, some remain standing, not looking at all convinced that they feel as better as Margaret insists. 
Craig Thompson
National President
Member of Festival of Light Christian Ministries. From their website: Festival of Light: Who are we? - Festival of Light Australia is a Christian ministry to our nation promoting true family values in the light of the wisdom of God.
A "magistrate" was cited in The Australian (newspaper) last week, as authority that jailing more marijuana users would somehow "tackle psychosis".  Denouncing "the decriminalisation of marijuana" and "harm minimisation," stories of classic amphetamine psychosis were cited as reasons to jail users of cannabis all the more.  
-People's Drug Summit, Adelaide 2005
Acting magistrate Craig Thompson called on governments to wind back the decriminalisation of marijuana and impose "coercive rehabilitation" based on abstinence for people addicted to drugs. 
-People's Drug Summit, Adelaide 2005
Heroin: the new epidemic by Athol Moffitt, John Malouf and Craig Thompson 
Drug Precipice By Athol Moffitt, John Malouf & Craig Thompson
Both are sold through Festival of Light Christian Ministries.
Gary Christian
Honorary Secretary
  • Gary Christian is high up in the Seventh Day Adventist Church
  • A well known Creationist
  • Speaker for Drug Free Ambassadors, an initiative started by the Church of Scientology
"High overdose rates at the centre were due to drug users experimenting with higher doses, knowing nurses would be on hand to help them"
-September 2003. Spreading lies to gather support for the closure of Sydney's Safe Injecting Room
"Mrs McKay can be naive on the facts of drugs,"
-February 2002
"I still support her in her fight against drugs but I have been told that she upset people at the Drug Summit with her attacks on the harm-minimisation policy." 
-February 2002
Science was a "belief system", Biblical fables were "Scientific evidence", and "Civil Rights are a metaphysical illusion",
The Kings Cross Injecting Room - Case for Closure written by Gary Christian
(Over the past 4 years, the MSIC and a range of respected health professionals working in the addiction medicine field have pointed out the errors in Gary Christian’s various calculations and extrapolations).
Josephine Baxter
Executive Officer
  • Multiple DFA statements blurring evidence and facts
  • Vocal supporter of drug testing for students
"The Australian Medical Association has issued warnings on the health risks associated with smoking marijuana. Risks of cannabis use include memory loss, psychosis, impaired driving, hallucinations, asthma, and even lung cancer. Moreover, warned the AMA, one third to one half of detained patients admitted to psychiatric units in Australia are there because marijuana use has precipitated a relapse"
-A quote she stole from Christian extremist, Bill Muehlenberg 
"If the good doctor could provide his evidence-base to show that open distribution of cannabis would actually decrease use, reduce psychosis and related violence, he may have a credible voice. However, right now he has only dug himself further into disrepute."
-In response to Dr. Wodak’s suggestion of a regulated market for cannabis. Dr Alex Wodak is a world renown expert on drug treatment. Jo is ... well, a... nothing, really.
"Research now shows just how complex and dangerous this drug is" 
-In reference to cannabis.
“Anything that is a promotional campaign or gives information without making clear the harm of drugs is not useful”
-On the Melbourne Museum's exhibition - Drugs: A Social History
“Given that the US is making better headway than Australia, in both binge drinking and illicit drug use among its young people, we should be looking more closely at what is working there”
-The Age. March 27, 2008
Peter R. Phillips
  • Member, Advisory Group, Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration and Refugees
  • Chairman, Finance Council, Catholic Military Diocese
  • Supported these so called "facts": 
    -90% of gay men finding "contact with human feces pleasurable"
    -that one-fourth of gay men have had sex with at least 1,000 partners
    -that "Homosexuals invite rejection and unfortunately occasional violent retaliation by deliberately engaging in          public conduct which offends the sensibilities of many Australians"
    -that lesbians are 19 times more likely than heterosexual women to have syphilis
    -that gay food handlers spread hepatitis
   -that HIV can be spread by water
    -that gay teachers are seven times more likely than heterosexual teachers to molest children
    -that gay men prey on adolescent boys in public restrooms
    -that there has been no genocide against gays even under the Nazis
    -that gays and lesbians do not experience discrimination but are in fact a wealthy elite.
Major Brian Watters
The hard-liners hero or as some call him, the Australian Drug Czar. Watters has been on nearly every drug committee that allows moralists including Howard's own, ANCD. With a reputation as the great abstainer from anything scientific, his reputation got the attention of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) who made him Australia's representative.
  • Major in the Salvation Army. 
  • Qualified psychiatric chaplain
  • Responsible for pushing Howard's agenda that stopped the ACT heroin trials in 1997.
  • Converted the ANCD into Howard's personal anti-drug committee alienating Australia's top experts on drug addiction.
  • Member of several Australian government committees, including the national "Tough on Drugs" reference group.
  • Keynote speaker at the hard line conservative conference: European Cities against Drugs in Stockholm.
  • Organised Summit 2000 to promote alternatives to government policy. Summit 2000 tried to claim legitimacy by being held in NSW Parliament House, yet it was not organised by the government, and was far from representative of the full spectrum of views in the drug debate. Rather, it was sponsored by a group of like-minded conservatives, including the Festival of Light's Rev Fred Nile, various church groups and some conservative state Liberal politicians.
"drug addiction is a sin"
- as Chairman of ANCD.
"heroin addiction is a fate worse then death"
- as Chairman of ANCD.
Major Watters said he was tired of hearing people say it was their "right" to decide what they did with their bodies when the same people were often the first in the queue to grab social security benefits. "It's pure selfishness," he said. "They just don't feel they need to contribute anything to society, just take from it."
- Daily Telegraph 2004.
"The addicts in their iniquitous soul-destroying world of substance abuse don't understand the love and hope we have invested in them." 
- Daily Telegraph 2004.
"bringing together all of the latest research in a balanced, non-ideological way"
-Explaining the contents of a new booklet from the Howard Government's drug taskforce that aims to "tell the truth" and combat the "trivialisation" of the drug's dangers.
Graeme Rule
  • Executive Director - COADE Inc. COADE is a Christian not for profit non govermnment organisation assisting everybody regardless of race, religion and capacity to pay.
  • Graeme Rule is a lifelong total abstainer and one of five children. His father was a country Methodist parson with an unswerving hostility towards the liquor trade. All the five children have moved into significant Christian service. 
  • He campaigned in the Ashburton suburban area of Melbourne where he lives, for a dry area poll. A Camberwell restaurant is seeking a liquor licence where for 82 years there has been an absence of alcohol. 
"Christ came to make people whole, yet the total abstinence message is the truth that some Christians do not want to hear!"
- Quarterly Supporters Rally of the Christian Democratic Party, Richmond Church of Christ, Victoria 13 June 2003
Graeme posed the often asked question, Did Jesus turn water into intoxicating liquor at the marriage reception in Cana, with the guests staggering home afterwards? In our Lords day alcoholic wine, as drunk by the Jews, was greatly diluted, public drinking water often being contaminated. Also the wine which Paul recommended as a therapy for Timothys gastric complaint was probably a thick syrup of grape juice. Alcoholic wine would only irritate any stomach condition. 
- Quarterly Supporters Rally of the Christian Democratic Party, Richmond Church of Christ, Victoria 13 June 2003
John Bariach
  • A member of this highly Christian activist groups -President of the WA Branch of the Australian Family Association -Family Council of WA -State Council of the Parents and Friends Federation -Family and Children’s Advisory Council -Knights of the Southern Cross (KSC)
  • He is a lay apostolate.
  • 2001: Advertised that proposed law changes in W.A. that brought the age of consent for homosexuals in line with heterosexuals would "promote homosexual seduction of teenage boys" and attempted to link homosexuality and child abuse.
  • In 2001, the Western Australian (WA) Government introduced homosexual law reform. In an effort to prevent the changes, the Australian Family Association took out an advertisement in a daily newspaper arguing against them. WA Senator, Brian Greig, complained to the Advertising Standards Board, which upheld his complaint, ruling that it breached industry ethics. Greig then allegedly sent out messages from his parliamentary e-mail address urging gay activists to send as much unsolicited mail as possible to the association's ...
  • At the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation Conference John Barich emphasized the importance of finding out who the official government delegates to UN meetings are, and on lobbying them in advance so that no anti-life, anti-family - or ambiguous - recommendations are adopted. Official Australian government appointed delegates to UN (August 2004)
Allowing the couple to adopt was an "obscene" social experiment. He was glad the couple were still on a waiting list.
-PerthNow May 2007. THE first homosexual couple in WA approved an adoption are still waiting because no birth mother has wanted her child to have "two dads".
Inconsistencies in delegate selection had flawed Western Australia's (WA) drug summit in August 2001. John Barich, convener of the WA Family Council said there had been an unfair representation in the selection of delegates. There had not been enough schools, parent groups and church representatives, and too many representing drug users. The council had called its own summit because it believed the official government one had failed, Barich said. More than 100 health professionals and members of the community attended the ...
-October 2001
What a perverse idea of fairness is it to decide that a little boy or girl shall never be able to call anyone "Mummy" because the next couple in the adoption queue is a pair of male homosexuals?
-September 2005. Putting his case forward on the issue of allowing gay couples to adopt.
Millennia of human experience, common sense and weighty research support the presumption that the best interest of the child is served by entrusting him or her to a mother and father in a stable marriage. The advocates of adoption by homosexual couples cannot meet the burden of proof required to rebut this presumption.
-September 2005. Putting his case forward on the issue of allowing gay couples to adopt.
"The funding decision was disgraceful and devalued Christmas." "I'm in shock, it's ridiculous," "the Pride parade should be banned because homosexuals had achieved their law-reform aims and the march was used merely to flaunt their lifestyle and mock the church."
-October 2006. Accusing the City of Perth of snubbing Christmas after it allocated more funding to Saturday's gay and lesbian Pride parade than the Christmas Pageant through the same streets.
Herschel Mills Baker
  • President - Australian Parents for Drug Free Youth
  • Listed prohibitionists on the Drugwatch website
"only coma and death are left for the cannabis smoker"
Betty Robert
National Social Issues Convenor for the Catholic Women’s League of Australia 2006-2007
Isobel Gawle
"The Government must not aid and abet the prostitution industry to camouflage its activities by simply moving such activities to designated areas, or into brothels … such harm minimisation efforts are doomed to failure."
-Attorney-General’s Street Prostitution Advisory Group Final Report 2002