Friday, 10 October 2008

Another Avoidable and Senseless Death

We are so lucky to have a moral conscience in this country. You know, those moral crusaders who want to be tough on drugs and damn the consequesnces . Who cares why people take drugs, it’s illegal and immoral and that’s what counts. Think of the children who will be given the wrong message if we go soft on drugs. Well they have succeeded. The message has got through and the result is yet another shattered family at the death of a young family member. The message was clear and precise ... if you use drugs, the cops are going to get you and your arse is toast. You will get no sympathy for your actions and you will face the wrath of the law, the public and your peers. Melanie Boyd’s friends had probably heard this often and they reacted just like you would expect. Now Melanie Boyd is dead and this avoidable death is again, the direct result of of our loud and obnoxious moral conscience. What were the first thoughts of these young people when they discovered people convulsing? It wasn’t what we hoped, for that had been drummed out of them and replaced with the loud voices of the moral conscience crusaders. The fact they even discussed what to do showed common sense and humanity being over ridden with guilt and fear, the perfect weapons for the tough on drugs rhetoric. Now we have a family in mourning unable to forgive these kids who themselves will probably never be able to forget what happened. I just want to know if the Devines and Akermans of the media, the Baxter’s and Bressingtons of the anti-drug brigade, the Pynes and the Bishops of politics are ever going to be held accountable for their foolish, irresponsible behaviour? It’s their voices that our young hear as they are confronted with reality and if ever someone was sending the wrong message, this is it. Coincidentally, Harm Minimisation is criticised most by these moral crusaders which is the very thing that would have saved Melanie Boyd. I need to know why these kids weren’t taught to get help first then worry about the consequences. I need to know why we have allowed our young to even hesitate for a second before calling an ambulance because of a drug overdose. I need to know why education material like the “Choosing to use” booklet is shredded yet it’s message saves lives. Like WW1, the bodies are mounting yet the call is to keep going. From afar the real situation is obscured by fallacious and selfish ideology with little consideration for the victims. It’s so easy to give orders when you are not in the line of fire and you’re driven by the inexorable need to be right. Is the selfish quest for whatever bizarre ideology these people have more important than our kids lives? We know the answer to this but apparently the moral crusaders doesn’t.
Melanie Boyd Wanted to Call for Help at Townsville Pharm Party -Partygoers More Worried About Involving Police By Peter Michael October 2008 TEENAGER Melanie Boyd begged her friends to call for help after taking a lethal cocktail of booze and drugs, an inquest was told. But by the time an ambulance was called, three hours after she was found "blue" and "struggling to breathe", the popular Townsville private schoolgirl, 16, was dead. In a tearful apology yesterday, Matthew Aubrey, 20, told an inquest into her June 2006 death that the first-time drug taker wanted to call for help when two fellow drug users at the "pharm party" fell into fits of convulsions. "Mel had a phone, she said if it's happened to them I don't want this to happen to me," Mr Aubrey told the Townsville Coroner's Court. But the six partygoers talked each other out of calling for an ambulance - because they did not want to involve the police. "It was not my party, not my house, not my call," said the youth, who was 18 at the time and the oldest at the party. "Knowing what I know now, I wish I was smarter." Parents Laurie and Julie Boyd angrily refused to accept his emotional plea for forgiveness as well as that of the teenage girl who supplied the drugs and hosted the beachfront house party. "We thought we were invincible," said the girl, whose identity has been suppressed by the court. She said she had not touched drugs since that fateful party. "It scared me straight. "I'm sorry it took something this catastrophic to make me realise how precious life is." "I think we thought we were better and it would not happen to us." Coroner Brian Smith presiding over the inquest heard "pharm parties", mixing alcohol, marijuana and prescription pills, had become popular among the nation's youth. In a twist, it emerged that the girls who snorted lines of a white powder, popped up to eight anti-depressants and pain killers, and slammed shots of rum had not taken speed, or crystal meth, as believed by police. "I told them (the other girls) it was speed. I wanted to be cool, I wanted to be accepted," the girl said. She said she emptied the contents of an unknown capsule into a bag which they divided up into lines, before raiding her mother's drug cabinet for blue and orange pills. "There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of Mel and wish it had all never happened," she said.
Related Artilces:Avoidable and Senseless Death


Firesnake said...

Like reading a chunk of my own thoughts... couldn't agree more. That's the result of the new trendy semantic piffle known as Harm Prevention. Advanced as a "health policy" it is in fact, a political tool used in an ideological battle. And as with all right wing approaches to partisan differences, the means justify the ends - users are losers anyway, so just line 'em up and the ones who survive exploitation as pawns, can fall like dominoes for all they care.

Just say no, eh? Well, McCain is singing the praises of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" to reality nonsense as part of his "new" - I kid you not - drug policy. Strange, it sure didn't work for his war buddies in Vietnam - where the War On Drugs began - but I guess when you're mixing with the top end cocaine set, kneeling before the "evangelical vote" [conveniently forgetting the ex head of the Evangelical Association is into Ice, Viagra and gay escort recreation - aka 'normal adult consensual behaviour'] and subject to it's 1st century logic, just say nothing makes sense.

Why is this relevant here? Because the same ideology riddled semantics permeate all Western nations. Here's a video of Reagan - 20 years ago - and surprise, surprise, it too has no message for the reality of drug use.

As noted in Terry's post, the actual message getting through to kids is damn clear.
Don't ask for help. Don't become one of those stereotypes. Don't let our parents find out. Pretend it will be OK. Hope no-one gets hurt. Use all your 'skills' gained from tax payer funded terrortainment commercials - which very helpfully end with prone kids in the midst of a crowd, and some official looking warning about how stupid, dangerous, illegal... damn what was that message?

The message was don't let this happen. Um, it just has, it's right in front of me, so what do I do now - what ad did I miss? Where's the advice about keeping my friend alive instead about keeping them in a character straight jacket? Do I get in trouble? Seems like it. And I'll cop it from family and friends who haven't screwed up. That ad told me this happens and there might be a special law for drug users who don't pay attention to ads!? In fact, my only chance is to bullshit - including denying we've ever used before. If I'm gunna cop it for using, then no way am I gunna admit this is what we do every weekend.

Don't bother trying basic first aid. Just FREEZE. In fact, do exactly what the message coming out is: Nothing - say no, and do nothing. Drugs have unexpected consequences, such as convulsing and passing out. Yes, we know that 'cause it's on the telly - and kinda right here, right now. Don't end up in this position.

Just like travelling 5km over the limit, you end up killing someone. Or - what's that new ad about drug driving? Oh, yeah. A nice girl with a cute dog has her brains splattered across the windscreen, and the guy driving is a real dickhead. Is that me? Well, not if I can help it.

No happy ending for those ads however. Spend a few more grand and include 'tilt the head back, open the airways' - nah. We're on a budget here. Maximise moral panic, minimise education.

What about roll the person into the recovery position and keep airways open. What? 2 things - too expensive, and all that yukky boring 1st aid stuff, is useless.

CPR? Don't be absurd. Everyone knows from the ads, that this is where the stupid kids end up. The ones that used a bad batch. And by golly we all know how serious that is. They must be using... well any/everything. Must be one of those druggies we hear about. A psychotic cannabis addict, maybe, who we all know are violent criminals - just ask Ann Bressington and her little "hard on families" cult. Could have any disease - diseases we don't want, know about or understand. And why don't we know...? Good question actually.

Stand in mute horror as your mind searches for the best solution, or the best alternative and watch a friend die. Then, in a garbled attempt to save yourself from being seen as the non existent tripsters on the telly, lie to the police, emergency services and friends.

Result? A child is dead - again - because someone who will never come close to that world, wets their pants over the worst case scenarios that may, just may pop up. Where do we get this insanity? "Fast tracked from the USA" with the latest episode of Kath n Kim, dear viewer/listener/reader...

And the parents now harbor ill feelings towards a kid who did... exactly what their daughter did. Victim city. Anger, retribution, the need to blame, deny responsibility, encourage the belief in shame, pretend drugs do things they don't, agitate for media focus and community ostracism of users. Ben Cousins is a perfect example of what happens to drug users. You can steal 1/2 a million from an employer for a gambling addiction, and it's all cosy 'cause pokies are to blame. But take a drug...

All the behaviour cropping voodoo schlockiness of drug free programs.

Kids use every minute of every day. I doubt very much this kid was a first timer, but I have no proof. What I do have proof of, is the lies and cries to follow a fatality. "Shut up, keep it simple, look after yourself, and hard as it is - the dead are dead. What would she want you to do? Do you think her parents would advise her to be honest and cop to frequent use?" Well, their reaction is the answer. More so, if this is not the advice given I'd have reservations over the quality of 'legal advice'.

So, Harm Preventers. Peddlers of Compassionate - and funding friendly rubbish - have a damn good look. Shit. Ban a bong or two in celebration. Send idiots on a hunt for bongs in shops, and complain about the Rave party pill testing, and on the ground supporters - both of which would have avoided that death. Remember? Those guys who you didn't want funded to hang about dance parties and ensure this doesn't happen - wrong message n all that.

Top job, well done and carry on old chaps. Just look at that tally sheet. I think my favourite is knowing a family now have no idea at all what really happened, and will now be left with stuff all support, and wolves of exploitation. Splendid achievement. It really works - kids really do end up saying no. But, not to drugs. They say no to the mere thought of engaging in fear free responses to drug use.

If our young are going to die because the message is say no to emergency services, then Drug War Crimes is a very tempting concept. At the very least, any and every group, body, author and "peak body" involved in promoting the dynamics that stopped a simple phone call must be held accountable.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Firesnake.

I am so glad that others can see that Melanie's death could have been prevented.

Until those idiots stop telling us that "sending the right message" is more important than people's lives, we are going to continue with tragedies like Melanie and Kelly.

BTW, she must have had many good friends because my hit rate for this article is growing rapidly with over 50 searches bringing viewers here just this morning.

InnerCityTrendy said...

I really like what you write. I agree with almost every word. Actually, I'm pretty sure that most people feel this way but, as your blog points out, the media just works so hard to convince people otherwise.

Recently I blogged about a typically terrible piece of journalism printed in the SMH about the policing of drugs at parties. Check it out:

David said...

Was this person made to take drugs at gunpoint by a marauding band of politicians?

Where is personal responsibility, or is everything now the fault of "society", genetic influence and peer group pressure?

What's wrong with just saying "no"? Just because Americans are such piss-weak fucks, doesn't mean our tough Australian culture can't handle a few drug deaths. It's not too many, so who really cares?

Get out there and enjoy your drugs, but stop moralising to us teetotallers who choose to say no. Enough already.

Terry Wright said...

"doesn't mean our tough Australian culture can't handle a few drug deaths. It's not too many, so who really cares?"

I care.

BTW. Whilst focusing on writing your strange and hysterical rant, you failed to understand the actual point of the article ... Again.

Anonymous said...

I care too.

Firesnake said...


Another binary flip from the moral right. Apart from a little tanti, a brag, a revelation of ignorance we seem to get cowardly moralising about... moralisers!

The guy blamed for her death might like to discuss the value of his friends life. How does one broach that topic face to face? Interesting...

No-one can be that callous and be taken seriously. I don't get out of it either. Big deal. Keeps me alert for grey cardigan wearing moralising tea drinkers.

No she wasn't made to do anything. It's what she/they were made to not do, by whatever means they arrived at the point of not making any decisions. Indeed it's a case of what wasn't done - by her friend [peer]. No-one makes kids fall into pools, or drive a car, or toddlers fall under the wheel in the driveway, or teens use their cell phone when driving, or try a backflip on their pushbike or go overseas and vanish, or any other risky behaviour. Plenty however, do try to make them not do certain things deemed unacceptable - in stupid and ill devised ways.

The issue is what skills are at their disposal when things go wrong. If the risky behaviour was canyon climbing, and information on recognising the signs of an impending flood was held back in pre-hike planning meets because we want a canyon-flood free world, I think friends who were too scared to admit they got wet would perhaps not be feeling guilty or copping blame.

Her friends ability to engage in 1 or 2 activities less difficult than cooking toast, to save a life, was hampered by fear of what may happen to him or to his friend in a legal sense [crime], a social sense [shame] and the type of hide away tough talk only self-proclaimed 'teatotallers' can muster [moralising].

In a random universe there's no rhyme or reason. The trouble starts when we forget it's how one deals with reality - not what happens - that matters. Simple:- random event = dead teen. There's no "reason" in our little handbook of family values, so some invent one; she's not worth as much as other lives or is expendable.

The longer her ignorant and uneducated association with drugs continued the more likely that yes, she'd have a gun or knife or some other weapon - perhaps a weapon of coercion - used against her, in some way - almost certainly unrelated to reasons for initially using drugs. Perhaps by then she'd have a few priors and known associates that, on paper, add up to 'why bother'? Perhaps she'd be selling her body, and true to Law n Order, up comes some guy in a grey cardigan... under a raincoat... with a Scout masters toggle on... smelling like... Tea!!

Either way, we get back to what we want our kids to know when faced with an unexpected event - or a Dave, who admits her life is as nothing, so it follows he'll treat her less than human... well, already has I guess.

An educational pamphlet with the bullet points of how to manage exactly the situation was pulled from schools by Moralisers. Why? They want the right message, so kids will say no. I guess if we add it all up we get: Say no, know nothing or you aren't worth the same as another life. A bit like, pulling down the pool fence and claiming kids who drown are easily replaced.

Dismissing the value of a life, based on subjective and wrong opinion is exactly why this person is dead. Those who seek to convince us harm minimisation sends the Wrong Message, use tactics that alienate the community in a subjective manner. Dave's attitude is an example of exploitation also. Does anyone honestly believe that? Probably, some real sickos, but it's really Boltspeak born of neocon' alienation.

As it didn't come out in the case [she's just another life], one can see it's a closet opinion with no basis in reality but the potential to cause great harm. I wonder how many readers have heard that in discourse? Interesting. As it'd be the only D&A stance to emerge that actually demotes our fellow community members. Lucky it has no evidence behind it - just tragedy.

One wonders who the greatest victim is here. Those who suffer, or those who are blindly fooled into continually alienating a few conveniently labeled minorities who are in the way of others, with entirely different agendas.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much! thats what i tried to tell the coroner!! i dont know what would have made me not take drugs but i do know if we werent so afraid or knew what to do she wouldnt have died!