Saturday, 29 March 2008


Diary: I was walking my dogs last night when something occurred to me. I was content to be out with my dogs and not focussing on just getting home. Usually everything is a chore. I have become an expert at looking happy and I always smile politely and make sure no one suspects I am feeling depressed. Underneath I just want to get the fuck back home where it's safe. The new medication must be starting to work and I certainly feel a bit different. After the walk I even got stuck into some work for a few hours which was a relief considering how much I have on at the moment. I also notice that still there is a lack of wanting to use heroin. It can only be good. On a lighter note, we bought two pairs of food tongs. When Angela got home with the shopping, I pulled them out of the bag and said "new tongs"? She instinctively replied, "Two Tongs ... Tingtong, Sing Song Singsong ... where is Dr. ... Tingtong". She then proceeded to yell at me for the next 15 minutes for putting that stupid poem in her head.

War on Drugs: A Statistic

I was watching a TV debate from Canada on whether drugs should be decimalised. The two guests were on opposite sides of the argument with a police officer pushing for decriminalisation and a politician opposing it. No surprises there. Apart from one or two 'nays' from a random questionnaire to people on the street, the debate was strictly a win for the 'yah'. The politician repeated the same old arguments using 'children's futures' and 'getting tougher' with no evidence and dragging out the same tired old line that 'it's getting better' and 'we can't give up' etc. The police officer had facts and figures to back his argument along with years of experience to give real insight into what it is actually like at a personal level. Something the politician sadly lacked. What prompted me to write this was that the police officer raised some statistics and pointed to the US as how much the current policies have failed. Fact after fact and the debate kept drifting back to the US and the dismal failure of the "War on Drugs". To everyone's surprise, the politician refuted the statistics and claimed things were turning around in the US because of the harsher penalties. He said that as more money is spent to create a tougher police force and more prisons are built to keep dealers & users off the street, the more that they stop drug usage. He also claimed that young people are not taking up drugs as much as before. It must be pointed out that he also claimed that drug use went up in The Netherlands after they adopted a softer drug policy. This was instantly debunked when it was explained to him that world usage went up also and in fact The Netherlands usage was less than most countries. The police officer again just used facts to disprove the politician's claim. It is easy to rattle off statistics but a visual guide puts it into perspective. Below is a stunning chart that shows the futility of the "War on Drugs":

Friday, 28 March 2008

Drug Hysteria Carnival Rolls On / Society is Doomed!

An Australian motorist identified as the first in the world to return a positive roadside drug test will now be paid compensation by police who've admitted making a mistake. Ballarat courier John De Jong was pulled over by police for a roadside drug test in 2004 - the fourth driver to be tested using the new technology.
A large media contingent had assembled for the event - they were told Mr De Jong had tested positive for cannabis and amphetamines - his case broadcast around the world.
But the result was wrong - a further laboratory test confirming the technical error - Mr De Jong sueing Victorian police for defamation. Just weeks before his case, the matter has been settled confidentially. Victorian police may be facing a payout of up to 150 thousand dollars. They've also apologised for the hurt and embarrassment caused.
Laura Tunstall - Macquarie National news
I have no problem with charging people for drink/drug driving. It's dangerous and by now we should be aware of what damage someone can do behind the wheel of a car. The problem with this case is that in an effort to follow the government's "tough on drugs" rhetoric, the Victorian Police invited the media to witness the new roadside drug testing unit in action. Knowing full well that anyone who tested positive would be publicly outed as a drug user, they let the media in anyway. Their stunt backfired and because of a technical problem John De Jong was known as that speed freak/dope smoker who got caught being "stoned behind the wheel". 
John De Jong and his family paid the price for drug hysteria. Pushing a fairly common practice of recreational drug use into the public domain as some sort of degenerative act will put many everyday people in a precarious position. What has been laughed off for decades as "it's only grass" might now make you public enemy number one. Being caught drug driving is going to portray some well respected people as something they're not ... a scourge on society. This is not because of the drug driving charge but because a "tough on drugs" approach demonises even the most casual user of drugs. 
Society is Doomed!
A new global study ranks the Netherlands 9th in the world in stability and prosperity. The U.S. follows at a distant 22nd. I'll give you one guess where I'm going with this. Ok, times up. If you said, "Scott will argue that superior quality of life in the Netherlands proves that an enlightened marijuana policy won't destroy society," you win a cookie.
Indeed, superior quality of life in the Netherlands proves that an enlightened marijuana policy won’t destroy society, and there are no complications which ought to prevent anyone from understanding this. A bunch of white Europeans have been prancing around for decades allowing one another to sell and smoke marijuana openly, culminating in their designation as the 9th best nation in the world. Not to mention their progressive policies on psychedelic mushrooms, safe injection sites, drug sentencing, and criminal justice spending, none of which have produced outcomes resembling those we've been told to expect should we abandon our obscenely harsh approach to these matters here in the U.S. The numbers speak for themselves.
Scott Morgan -
For years, the US drug czars has been predicting the downfall of society in The Netherlands since they changed their drug policy to Harm Minimisation from the US styled Zero Tolerance. The Netherlands of course have the infamous 'coffee shops' where you can buy marijuana and hash with your coffee. They also give free heroin to long term addicts at many of their clinics.  During the late 1990s, US Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey publicly lied about the effects of Harm Minimisation in The Netherlands and quoted incorrect figures in an effort to denounce their liberal drug policies.
"We told the Dutch the comparative crime rates are higher than the United States’ -almost double in some cases. In some cases there is much as four times higher than Germany, France, Belgium. Comparative data, I know, is a flaky. But in everyone of them, their crime rates are higher than ours."
Even though it was pointed out that his figures were rubbery at best, he continued with his harsh criticism.
"The Dutch have consistently followed a harm-reduction policy...In their country, drug-abuse rates among their youngsters have gone way up under this policy and their prison population has gone way up"
"The United States’ preventive approach, in contrast, was a roaring success"
The Dutch government was understandably upset at the blatant lies and produced the real statistics which caused a major retreat. McCaffrey visited The Netherlands on a fact finding tour and came back with a new spin claiming that the real issue is to catch traffickers and dealers.
Here are some statistics from the around the period when US Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey made those wonderful comments. Incidentally, more recent figures have pushed the two countries even further apart statistically.
Last month use of cannabis (marijuana) by high school seniors: 
18.1% in the Netherlands (1996); 
23.7% in the U.S. (1997). 
Any lifetime use (prevalence) of cannabis by older teens (1994): 
30% in the Netherlands; 
38% in the U.S. 
Recent (last month) use of cannabis by 15 year olds (in 1995): 
15% in the Netherlands; 
16% in the U.S.; 
24% in the U.K. 
Any lifetime use of cannabis by 15 year olds (in 1995): 
29% in the Netherlands; 
34% in the U.S.; 
41% in the U.K. 
Heroine addicts as a percentage of population (in 1995): 
160 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
430 per 100,000 in the U.S. 
Murder rate as a percentage of population (in 1996): 
1.8 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
8.22 in the U.S. 
Incarceration rate as a percentage of population (1997): 
73 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
645 per 100,000 in the U.S. 
Crime-related deaths as a percentage of population: 
1.2 per 100,000 in the Netherlands (1994); 
8.2 per 100,000 in the U.S. (1995). 
Per capita spending on drug-related law enforcement: 
$27 per capita in the Netherlands; 
$81 per capita in the U.S. 
Sources: The Trimbos Institute of Amsterdam, Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Netherlands Ministry of Justice, World Health Organisation, Uniform Crime Reports, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation

Thursday, 27 March 2008


DIARY: I am now on Aropax which I have been on twice before. It seemed to work the first time but it I was drinking heavily at the time and I just went into a stupor. The second time was when I was on 110 ml of methadone and it did nothing. This time though, it seems to have kicked in straight away. After the first tablet, I was dizzy on and off all day with some flashes of something unusual ... like happiness or excitement but different somehow. I had some trouble sleeping also. I have a huge day today with work as I recently won a large contact and two more in the pipeline. I mentioned the other day, this will see me through for a while with some nice dollars. I am going to do up my office with a new PC and a Mac and I also might be dropping my cable service for ADSL2 so I can run my business more efficiently. Cable was great in it's day but Optarse are certainly a company on the slide with their service. I'm getting a new chair as well. I worked out along time ago that if you sit in front of a PC all day, you must have a good keyboard, mouse and chair. The feedback from the Tim Blair incident is still going on. I am still getting emails giving me their support which is flattering. I even got a few emails from some people I would consider on the other side of the political fence. One in particular was truly amazing. He is a regular on some of the more hard core right wing sites that I don't like at all but he is a far from the extremists that usually haunt these places. If anything it has encouraged me to go back and reread his comments more carefully.
Dear Terry, I just thought I'd drop a line and express my support for you after some of the recent attacks and so forth. The attacks on you have been quite stupid and unfair, and I have felt a little disgusted at some people's childishness and moral grandstanding. For what it's worth, I think your blog is a unique contribution to the blogosphere, and think that you should keep going. I may not agree with everything you say, but I certainly believe that harm minimisation is something that ought to be looked at more, rather than the self-righteous "war on drugs". I must admit the cruel attacks on you have disturbed me. When I read about the story of your wife and how you became an addict, I feel a little sorry for you. I really can't fathom why they would instead feel anger and a need to express hatred towards you. Perhaps you and your blog makes them feel challenged, and they need to re-assert their "moral superiority" in order to feel better about themselves. -Leon Bertrand
This shows that opinions can differ but basic humanity remains the same. It also shows the really nasty fuckers who made degrading comments on Tim Blair's blog would do so regardless of their politics.

UN Still Slaves to The US

The UN's narcotic arm, The INCB are slowly being exposed for the their real role in the international narcotics industry. This supposed independent organisation is nothing more than a front for the US led "War on Drugs" ... and it's getting some countries upset. The latest victim of the INCB is Canada and their bid to stop the spread of blood-borne diseases like HIV/AIDS. Part of the INCB annual report was an attack on Canada's safe injection facility and the distribution of disposable crack pipe mouthpieces. The INCB claims these programs breach part of the UN's convention against illicit traffic in narcotics. Of course it is all bullshit. When these countries signed the UN convention, they certainly didn't expect for the INCB to dictate their countries internal policies. Cindy Fazey who drafted the UN Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Demand Reduction had these harsh words about the UN in 2003:
Unfortunately these individuals also see their role not only as the guardians of the conventions, but also the interpreters of them as well. In their annual report they have criticised many governments, such as Canada for permitting the medicinal use of cannabis, Australia for providing injecting rooms and the United Kingdom for proposing to downgrade the classification of cannabis, which would entail less serious penalties than at present. These criticisms go far beyond their remit, and indeed it is hubris to criticise the Canadian Supreme Court.
Back in Canada, the safe injection facility known as Insite wasn't going to go quietly. Senator Larry Campbell, a former mayor of Vancouver and a former coroner, told reporters he would personally block Insite's doorway if officials tried to close it down. He went on to describe the narcotics board as:
"Stooges for a failed U.S. war on drugs"
Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan also dismissed the board's report by insisting it simply didn't understand Insite's success:
"The way we've approached drug addiction worldwide has been a failure, we need new approaches. We need to be open to innovations."
These programs have proven themselves over and over and over. How can any organisation, especially a humanitarian organisation like the UN, justify stopping programs that save so many lives and get addicts into rehab? It is so far from any logical reason that the UN now just look silly ... and corrupt. Any country that dares to stray outside the US style of zero tolerance is threatened by the UN to be contravening the narcotics control act which they have countersigned. Being a front for the US led "War on Drugs" and pushing US morals based drug policy on other sovereign countries is not the role of the UN. As Canada, England, Parts of Europe and Australia continue to be bullied, it won't be too long before these countries and others will start to ignore the UN and rely on their own evidence based findings. Banishing the arrogant and intimidating INCB to the history books can only be an improvement to the worldwide drug problem and a step forward for mankind.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Diary: What It Could of Been Like - Quarantining Welfare Payments


DIARY: Yesterday I copped the wrath of Tim Blair's slimy fanclub after Blair highlighted a spelling mistake on this blog.

It was a bit distressing especially when some cruel comments were made about the death of my previous wife. The guys at Grods have written a great piece about and it if you want to know more - Story link. The worse part was how distracting it was. I had an urgent job to finish by the next day and we were redoing our garden so I had Mrs Terry screaming at me to help. It was hard to get focussed.

Apart from the usual comments you would expect from a site like Blair's, I started getting some nasty and oddly directed insults.

A thing called Amos came here and proceeded to tell me that I'm an utter, utter fuckup. It continued with what you would expect from those with no connection to the problem. "I wonder how he’d be viewed in Singapore, or Iran" and in reference to methadone patients, "They treat the truth with disdain and make lying an art form". There were some nasty comments belittling the death of my wife including one made by an actual moderator of Blair's blog.

I don't usually pay that much attention to Tim Blair because ... face it, he's boring. His style of writing one or two lines with as much innuendo as he can fit in is just , well, boring. Also most of the Blairites are just bozzos. Hardcore bigots and Howard apologists who have little or no respect for anyone. Often they are violent or threatening especially the American readers.

What this incident did do though, was highlight exactly why I have this blog. Drug addiction is not as straight forward as it is portrayed. Ignorance is bliss for most and they are much happier towing the line with simple and mindless policies like "Tough on Drugs". The responses were highly opinionated and without substance. They presumed they knew the 'whats' and 'whys' of my situation and made bizarre comments from their presumptions. Funnily enough, if they had read my blog, it was all there for them. As with most posts, some comments were valid opinions, some weren't and some were bizarre. The difference here is that some comments were disgusting. Pity they're not my target audience because my site stats went through the roof.

I really want to thank those who posted supportive comments or the dozens of emails that were sent to me. Special thanks to Carrie, Ronny & Kim and Editor, Ant and the others at Grods.


What It Could of Been Like - Quarantining Welfare Payments

I found this proposed drug policy from the coalition from before the election. I am not sure if this is still current but it's a taste of what was to come. It's scary stuff and was probably the start of the decline of Harm Minimisation in Australia.

Coalition Government Proposed Drug Policy

Quarantining Welfare Payments

A re-elected Coalition Government will introduce compulsory welfare quarantining for people who have been convicted of criminal drug offences involving hard drugs. Drug abuse remains one of the most serious social problems confronting Australian society.

To address the problem of welfare payments being used to buy illicit drugs, a re-elected Coalition Government will quarantine 100 per cent of welfare payments to people convicted of criminal drug offences involving hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and amphetamines. This will ensure that all Australian Government welfare payments to which 6,000 convicted drug criminals may be entitled will no longer be paid in cash directly to the welfare recipient. The quarantined welfare payments will be managed by Centrelink or non-government organisations, as happens currently under our Financial Case Management policy for people who have serious welfare breaches. Specialist Financial Case Managers will ensure that welfare payments are only spent on rent, food, clothing, medicines and other essential needs. While this will not reduce the total amount of welfare payments, it will ensure that welfare payments will not be able to be spent on illicit drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

Quarantining of welfare payments will be for a minimum of 12 months, but may be extended if new criminal drug convictions are recorded during the quarantining period. Welfare recipients who are convicted of criminal drug offences will also be eligible for immediate referral to appropriate rehabilitation services and allied health services to help them overcome their drug problems.

A re-elected Coalition Government will negotiate with the States and Territories to provide Centrelink with details of persons who have been convicted of criminal drug offences in their courts. Centrelink will identify welfare recipients who have a drug conviction and will then contact the welfare recipient to arrange an initial interview to discuss the ongoing Financial Case Management of their welfare payments. Monthly interviews with Financial Case Managers will ensure that essential bills are paid regularly.

These arrangements will be applied to all welfare payments made by the Australian Government to a person with a conviction for hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and amphetamines. The Coalition will consider extending this policy to people convicted of criminal offences related to other drugs, including cannabis, in light of experience in implementing this phase of the policy. Legislation will be required. This measure will take effect from December 2008 and will apply to anyone convicted from that date.

This measure will cost $20 million to 2010-11 and will involve the financial case management of welfare payments for up to 6,000 convicted drug criminals a year who do not have custodial sentences.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Grampa Munster - The Next US President?

US drug policy is arguably the most unsuccessful strategies implemented by a government. The "War on Drugs" was originally a smokescreen campaign to steer attention away from a failing Nixon administration back in 1971. Nearly 40 years on, the "War on Drugs" has produced the opposite effect to what was first envisaged. This failure is mainly due continual demonising of drugs for political gain. Heavily backed by the powerful religious right, the US has embarked on numerous campaigns to portray all drug user as malfunctioning, addicted lowlifes who threaten American society if not locked up. Fortunately the campaigns were wrong as drug use grew massively. Tens of millions of Americans now use drugs regularly and they cause very few of the problems promised by government rhetoric. Instead the "War on Drugs" created it's own massive problems that has spread throughout the world costing millions of lives. As experts call for a stop to this insane policy, the hierarchy cling to their morals based ideals and refuse to acknowledge that the "War on Drugs" is unwinnable. 

As the US prisoner population has become the largest on the planet and other countries continue to prove a different approach will achieve significantly better results, the rhetoric remains the same. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a 5000+ group of drug squad police, judges, DEA and other police officers give a sure sign that even those involved in fighting the "War on Drugs" now accept that a new approach must be implemented.

A member of LEAP question's McCain on his opinion:

As usual, McCain cherry picks his sources or uses snippets of information to come up with his own logic. The argument about a few drinks is OK but drugs give mind altering effects instantly is wrong. Alcohol produces an instant calming effect as soon as the alcohol reaches the brain. No different to most drugs which increase their effect as you use more.

McCain mentions experiments in Europe where drugs were freely & openly used and had to be shutdown because they were a failure. These were experiments to try new strategies. They were analysed scientifically and were shutdown when they didn't produce the required result. What McCain left out was that these experiments didn't cause any more problems than existed already and actually had some minor success or that one experiment, called Needle Park, was replaced with the heroin prescription project which had complete success. It has since been repeated in Canada, Spain, Belgium and England. Another experiment was the Dutch "Coffee Shops" which sold marijuana openly. Drug use has not increased at all and The Netherlands has a reducing drug problem ... the opposite to the US.

John McCain & His Superior Foreign Affairs Knowledge  

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has about a 50% chance to be the next US president. One of McCain's arguments for why he is the best choice for the presidency is his claim of extensive foreign policy expertise. McCain recently made an official visit to the Middle East to emphasise his superior knowledge in foreign affairs over the democrats presidential contenters.

The 71-year-old said:

"It's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq. That's well known"

Surprised at McCain's comments, the reporters pushed for more details. McCain continued:

"We continue to be concerned about the Iranians taking Al Qaeda into Iran and training them and sending them back."

It took fellow Senator Joe Lieberman to whispered into his ear that Al Qaeda are Sunni Muslims and the majority of Iran are Shiite Muslims.


"I am sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not Al Qaeda, not Al Qaeda, I am sorry"

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Diary: Adapting

DIARY: The battle to balance my days is getting easier as I adapt to morphine instead of methadone. I no longer get the slight 'high' I got from methadone and is the hardest part to adapt to. This gave me a full morning to work solidly before the depression sets in. This slight 'high' is the equivalent of what most people call normal. I don't have that morning reprieve anymore but my afternoons are no longer hell. One bonus is I don't feel the need to use heroin as much. I have gone nearly 2 weeks without it since I went through a bad patch of using when I first moved over to morphine. I am going to use this weekend and I have to admit, I can't wait. After that I am going to reduce to once a month and then once every 2 months. One of the biggest worries for junkies is money. Even though I work, the depression and some personal problems has made me use for short periods where I have wasted savings, blown large payments or borrowed to fund the using. This always puts financial pressure on us at a later date. The move to morphine from methadone had me using too much and now without any significant income for the last month, it is getting very uncomfortable. Luckily though a few big projects have dropped and this week starts a good period for me. Over the several few months, I should be clearing some nice dollars and will get my financial state back in order. A few people have emailed me about my morphine dose so I hope this answers any future queries. If you are given morphine for pain, you get dosed at about 10mg. For people suffering terminal illnesses, that dose slowly goes up as you tolerance increases and the pain gets worse. For others, morphine is highly addictive so the withdrawal process is very much a reason not to prolong treatment or increase the dosage too much. If you get addicted, you're a junkie and there are many people who never used heroin until they were treated with morphine. An average size person could take about 10-30mg as their first dose but anything over that would probably kill them. I take 600mg+ each day which just stops me going into withdrawal like methadone would. For those who don't know, substitution treatment just replaces heroin with another opiate. I am still addicted to opiates but heroin carries such a social stigma that some governments will do anything to avoid giving out heroin as treatment. Opiates incidentally are relatively non toxic and I could safely take heroin/morphine 3 times a day for the rest of my life with no physical damage. Heroin is like Aspirin in that it is being rediscovered. Once demonised and removed from nearly every countries' PBS(except a few countries like England), heroin is now starting to become a potential miracle drug for depression and drug addiction. Addicts who have been given free medical quality heroin in 8 different countries has proved without doubt the it is the most effective drug to get addicts clean. One day heroin will be prescribed to heroin addicts in most countries except maybe the US. This would be the end of heroin epidemics and the illegal heroin trade which would allow millions of addicts to live normal productive lives and drop crime by an estimated 25% on average per country.

Welfare Payment Regulation - Will it Work?

The Rudd government is to introduce a a plastic debit card that will control how welfare recipients spend their payments. The card is to stop drug addicts, gamblers, alcoholics and neglectful parents spending their welfare payments on drugs, gambling, alcohol and neglecting. Very good.

We have to make sure payments are spent for the benefit of the child and just as importantly that they are not spent on things that act to hurt children such as drugs or alcohol
-Families and Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin

A good idea like this can only work if managed properly. There is no doubt that some families are effected greatly by negligent parents and controlling the purse strings might direct money to where it is needed most. Parents who are addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling and let their children suffer as a consequence is a problem that needs addressing and I congratulate the government for acting on it. Issues of women who have children just for the baby bonus or men who take the bonus and flee is being addressed as well. Like all control tactics though with the purpose to protect people, there are major issues that are not usually addressed. This should be a priority before any scheme is implemented.

Who decides that parents are neglectful or cannot manage their drug use, alcohol or gambling?
Department of Community Service workers(DOCS) will have the power via Centrelink to apply restrictions on welfare payments to whoever they choose. Without a proper review process, it could give DOCS workers some extraordinary power. What if a DOCS worker has a dislike for someone or personally disagrees with their parenting techniques? What about racists or ultra religious workers? Will they force this new control on those who maybe smoke grass occasionally? Will a religious DOCS worker who is anti-alcohol make judgement on parents who drink? What if the DOCS misinterprets a situation? Too many 'Ifs' for my liking unless there is an easy way to settle disputes.

The other obvious downfall is the ability to falsely report abuse to The Department of Community Service. A vendetta between families could encourage a few phone calls to The Department of Community Service and the suspicion has already been aroused. With so much emphasis on 'protecting children', they will be bound to apply the welfare restrictions and investigate more fully at a later date.

Vouchers and goods will be exchanged for cash less than the face value.
For those parents who do have a problem and have their payments regulated, it simply will not fix the underlying problem. Addiction is a powerful incentive to do whatever it takes to squash the craving. Vouchers will simply become another currency but with less face value and this means even less money for an already struggling family. Cash for goods at hockshops will become even more prevalent and strip the total of their payments to a fraction of what they previously had. The opportunity to take advantage of those in need will just increase and impoverish those targeted even more.

The number of outlets that accept the cards/vouchers will be limited and what items are allowed to be purchased?.
Those on welfare payments live below the official poverty line. Trying to balance a small payment in a highly commercialised world built for those paid a wage is tricky and something we can't fathom. Collective savings, multi-family purchasing, sharing of financial burdens between relatives is common for welfare recipients and that requires cash. It also requires flexibility to seek out bargains and used goods that this system will make near impossible.

Will it be extended to all welfare recipients?
This is the biggest issue. Is the proposed system a precursor for total welfare regulation and 'protecting children' is just the door opener? Before he lost the election, I repeat, before he lost the election, John Howard had plans already in motion for payment regulation on all welfare recipients and his model was scary. The plan was to regulate the payments of anyone with a drug conviction for certain drugs or anyone they deemed 'a problem', whether they were a parent, single or part of a childless family.

There are plenty of issues to sort out but as with all socially conservative governments, controlling the riff raff that spoils the landscape is better dealt with first and any problems are addressed later. I see the current climate of drug/alcohol propaganda through fear mongering taking precedence over the actually well being of families with drug/alcohol problems. If these people have a problem with an addiction that is expensive to maintain, forcing more financial hardship will not magically fix the problem. Controlling welfare payments will make addicts even more desperate by taking away their only source of income and is never going to suddenly cure their medical condition. It will though lead to more unnecessary crime ... possibly the only outcome that is guaranteed.

The controls on welfare spending had to be accompanied by more spending on alcohol rehab programs, parenting programs and counselling. There were 26,000 people on waiting lists for programs that dealt with the root causes of dysfunction
-Welfare Rights spokesman Michael Raper

The problem is that these politicians are detached from how welfare families manage their lives and instead listen to the hysterical MSM. As we often see, several ultra conservative, self proclaimed pundits are given a platform for their radical views in certain publications that stir up a minority of the public. and somehow it becomes front page news. This publicity is going to override any real investigation into the negative effects of welfare payment regulation. Fixing the root of these problems should be addressed properly first and then maybe this type of welfare regulation wouldn't be such a big issue.

We expect this to be used as a last resort in very limited circumstances
-Welfare Rights spokesman Michael Raper

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Binge Drinking - You Mean Getting Drunk? / Charlie! - He's Our Man

Binge drinking, what does it really mean? Only a few years ago it was a serious bender of 2 days plus of heavy drinking. Now it seems that getting drunk is binge drinking. Another term hijacked by the media, religious groups and the government to shock us.

In The Age, a report by Lisa Martin titled What is binge drinking? gives this description:

Binge drinking is the dangerous practice of consuming high levels of alcohol, often to "get drunk".

WTF? Drinking to get drunk is now binge drinking? That makes nearly everyone in Australia a binge drinker. I now agree with Kevin Rudd that Australia's binge drinking culture has reached "epidemic proportions". Except what he is really saying is that if a scary term like 'Binge Drinking' is thrown around enough, it becomes an epidemic. The reports quoting the number of binge drinkers is probably double what they estimate. Drinking to get drunk was the norm when I ever went out and rarely did I notice many exceptions. I don't really drink anymore but the same still goes for those I know or any younger people I meet, you drink to get drunk if you are going out. Mind you this excludes the activities where drinking would hinder your night out like going to the cinema or similar. 

What The Age says:

...Changing this perception will be a Herculean task on its own - but change it must, even if punitive measures are necessary. The demon that is binge drinking has raged unchecked for too long. This is the chance for the Rudd Government to tackle it firmly and thoroughly.

The fact is that people want to alter their state of mind and will abuse some drug to do it. Be it drinking alcohol, smoking dope, snorting lines of speed/cocaine, popping an ecstasy tablet, spinning around in circles, huffing on glue, shooting up heroin, licking toads, eating magic mushrooms, sniffing amyl nitrate or taking rectal morphine. It has always happened since the dawn of humanity and always will. Drinking alcohol is Australia's main form of altering the state of one's mind and has been part of our society since we landed in Botany Bay. Drinking habits change from one generation to the next but unlike smoking, drinking has too many pleasurable effects that most will never give up.

...but change it must, even if punitive measures are necessary.

Here we go. The moralists screaming for penalties to those who partake in the demon drink. Alcohol abuse is a problem but a rational approach is needed and no amount of ranting or force will make a significant effect on drinking too much. Remember alcohol prohibition?

Charlie! Charlie! He's our man

This is just too good to let go by without a mention.

Jason Itzler, 41, self-styled King of All Pimps, has claimed he sent Dupre, under the name Victoria, and another girl, Cheryl to actor, Charlie Sheen for the purposes of paid sex, report  Daily Record.

He said the girls dressed up as cheerleaders for a threesome with the actor, costing him up to $20,000 a session.

"Sheen got the girls to dress up as cheerleaders and chant his name while performing sex acts. 

"They loved Charlie. They said he was a great guy. A great lover.

"One time he had them dressed up like cheerleaders, chanting:

'Charlie! Charlie! He's our man. If he can't do it, nobody can!'" 


Go Charlie!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Ministerial Staffers Doomed to Lie

The Rudd government is forcing it's ministerial staff to answer an invasive questionnaire detailing extremely personal & private details. Questions about sexual preference, previous sexual partners and drug use are required to be answered to gain security clearance to work in certain areas of the government. More than 300 ministerial and electorate staffers have been told the security form is designed to protect them from blackmail. yes, blackmail.

The reported information required of the ministerial staff:

-Sexual preference

-Have they had a homosexual experience

-Whether they have cheated on their spouse

-Give details about sexual habits

-Details of their illegal drug use

This includes names and dates.

There are so many arguments against this type of questioning that I am surprised it was even suggested. Is blackmail such a priority and if so, when did it become an issue? Do we have a problem with blackmail that we don't know about? Incredibly, this information is only useful for blackmail because of current government policies and attitude that deem these issues as something shameful or morally wrong. It's this practice that allow normal human behaviour to become a weapon.

Civilisation naturally progresses towards a more tolerant and diverse society but is occasionally hindered by the usual religious and conservative forces that need to proselytise their own standards and morals. With religion now becoming something our leaders are happy to endorse, the religious right, ultra conservatives and homophiles etc. get more say in how the government promote acceptable social standards.    

The recent influence of the religious right has alienated families that don't fit in with preferred family model of Man, woman and children. Same sex couples, unmarried couples or single parent families are now seen as a target of the MSM, moralists and according to the government, blackmailers. Promiscuous behaviour from the past is also fair game and your private bedroom activities are no longer between you and your partner(s). Recreational drug use whether current or in the past  is no longer harmless and only senior ministers or state leaders can admit to that crime.

The obvious question is who manages this information and how safe is it? Would you want bureaucrats in charge of your most private details? It just expands what information can be blackmailed. It also sets up the individual for scrutiny for the rest of their lives. I am sure the AFP would push for this list to be available for their use, as would ASIO, The ATO, various Royal Commissions and god knows who else.

For some reason I can't see senior government workers disclosing the information targeted by this move. Imagine being faced with the question about whether you have ever used illegal drugs? What if 10 years prior you had used speed several times over a 3 month period or you had done what a million other Australians had done and popped a ecstasy pill? It would be very easy to just ignore it as opposed to be on some database as a amphetamine abuser. It will undoubtedly raise the issue of what is deemed as drug abuse and if that person is capable or trusted enough to do the job they have been doing successfully for the last 10 years. I won't even get into marijuana use for the number of dope smokers being employed in these positions is going to be high.

The whole point is that these issues are just not that critical to most of the public and are only seen as inappropriate because the government says so. If the government left society alone to balance their own morality then most wouldn't give a toss about sexual preference or recreational drug use. The issues of one's own private affairs like whether they cheat on their spouses or their sexual habits will most likely never be admitted to on a disclosure form anyway so it only forces trusted staff members to lie. Then it becomes a trust issue and there's no doubt it could be used later in their professional life.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Booze Kills 1000% More Than Drugs

In the latest UN report, the estimated death rate from drug use is 200,000 per year while deaths from alcohol is 1000% higher. Tobacco deaths are 2000% higher. Also alcohol & tobacco has addiction rates at 500-600% higher than illicit drugs. What surprised me most from this report was that parts of it that were surprisingly different to the usual preaching that total abstinence was the only approach. The UN usually fail dismally to realistically address the current illicit drug situation worldwide, relying mainly on the law & order issues. The UN are accustom to taking the views of the US government and manipulating statistical data to push those views. This report had a few promising statements from UN anti-drugs head Antonio Maria Costa pushing harm minimisation over zero tolerance. They might be finally feeling the pressure from other countries besides the US to have a change of strategy but the report was still basically an extension of US drug policy.

UN anti-drugs head Antonio Maria Costa:

"A multilateral approach was needed and a stronger focus on health..."

Mixing in promising outcomes with the standard unworkable strategies is maybe a new approach?:

"The eradication of poverty must go hand-in-hand with the eradication of the drug crops,''

Not surprisingly, the standard rhetoric used for nearly 40 years gets trotted out:

"Despite the progress, we still have a long way to go to protect our societies from the health and security threats stemming from drugs.''

Nearly four decades have gone by since the US led, the 'War on Drugs' started in the US and became the model for the UN. Millions have lost their lives as a direct result and the effects of such a brutal, limited solution has changed many societies for ever. Millions of non violent people in jail, the rapid spread of HIVAIDS, millions of untreated mental health patients, military style fighting in city suburbs, underground drug cultures and more. All this to stop such a minute number of people relative to other more important problems.

Irony at it's best:

"While drugs are a serious global problem, the number of users worldwide is relatively small and drug-related deaths are only a fraction of those caused by alcohol, tobacco or AIDS"

A certain question will keep getting asked until the UN takes on real workable strategies that are suggested thousands of times each year by the world's experts:

If the current strategy has never worked in 37 years, why haven't we tried something different?

Diary: Some Cheap Advice

Diary: I have been very quiet at writing on the personal front lately due to my new treatment. I also thought more people would be interested in 'news' so I tried to keep that as the focus of my posts. Amazingly, I have had heaps of 2 emails asking me for personal experiences. No idea why as I am sure they have enough problems of their own to deal with. 

I mentioned last week that I am now on morphine instead of methadone and it is really taking it's toll. Man, the depression is killing me. At least on methadone, my mornings were good but morphine just keeps flat all day. I have no idea how anyone gets high on this stuff because I feel nothing ... not a thing. It holds me like methadone but there's certainly no so called 'euphoria'. Lately though I have started to get more of a balance and hopefully I will have it sorted over the next week. I have picked up a few tips to feel better. I have never relied on anything but medication before to get me through so this is new to me as well. 

Sleeping: When I start to feel flat - I go to bed. Yep 10 - 30 minutes does wonders. 

Walking: I try to walk my dogs every night now and since it's March, the weather is spectacular(Australia anyway). I have started to walk mornings as well. Just 10 minutes does it and it's a good start to the day. 

Coffee: A cheap legal 'pick me up'. 

Heroin: When all else fails. 

Before my current treatment, I planned my usage to act like a reward. I would set a certain day I could use and if I started to falter, I would talk myself around it knowing that the day was coming that I could use. I started at once weekly and got to once every six weeks. This worked well and I got my methadone to a fairly low dose. Unfortunately the depression set in and everything changed. If I wasn't predisposed to opiates and I had no depression, I might have been clean by now. It's also a great way to save or put money away for when the day comes.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Equality Wins in Spain / Americanazim in Australia

The Socialist Party in Spain has won another term in office and are to introduce important social reforms. The reforms are new laws for gender equality, new procedures to speed up divorce and the introduction of same sex marriages.

The key election promises to be introduced are major wins for equality and of course fiercely opposed by conservatives and the Roman Catholic Church.

This also renews hopes for the successful heroin trials to be extended throughout the country that had been stifled by pressure from the conservatives.

Americanazim in Australia

Right wing hate blog, A Western Heart has a serious problem. They can't spell. Sure they have spell checkers but they seem to have them set to US English.

"And the public adulation Obama receives is eerily reminiscent of how Hitler was received by vast numbers of Germans. But you have to know history to realize that."

"When you mix Leftist Ideology and Socialized Medicine"

AWH is a an Australian right wing hate blog authored & managed by 'Staff Writers'  which is made up of mainly Christian extremists, ultra right wing conservatives and Dr. Tingtong, president of the local model railway club. The common theme of the contributors is the hard leaning to Right-wing Authoritarianism.

AWH has an infatuation with American conservative ideals, especially those associated to the GW Bush administration. Links to their main contributors personal blogs are usually adorned with the American flag or have links to Israeli political issues.This hybrid of Australian politics and American conservative culture often includes references to American issues like gun rights, war glorification, GW Bush admiration, evangelistic ideals, pro Israeli aggression and other neocon ideology. 

Most articles have familiar themes and attract like minded individuals.* These themes include racism, Christian extremism, anti feminism, crime reporting and anti left wing opinions. All very much part of the Ackerman, Bolt & Blair type politics and social commentary. AWH does have some non political articles including pictures of cars, girls and guns that they will never own or touch.**

*Elijah is still learning

** Spud guns and popguns may be still be available by mail order