Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Piers Akerman, His Readers, Oxycodone and The Truth

I was starting to feel optimistic about the future of drug treatment until I made the mistake of reading News.com. I knew as soon as I saw the trashy headline You pay for junkie drug rort that it was not going to be good and as expected, it wasn’t. Just another attempt to alienate drug addicts. Apart from the dog-whistle to the readers that the NHS was subsidising drugs for addicts and the appalling comments there was worse yet to come in the form of Piers Akerman. Akerman followed up the article with his own unique spin on the situation Stop pandering to addicts with taxpayers’ funds. As usual, he managed to divert from the real story about the rise of oxycodone abuse to his own objection to the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) ... which of course included the NSW labor government.
The Daily Telegraph’s shocking disclosure that complicit doctors are assisting drug addicts obtain a taxpayer-subsidised heroin substitute for injection at the NSW State Labor government’s protected shooting gallery is a further argument for closure of the facility and a re-direction of the State’s resources.
-Piers Akerman. Stop pandering to addicts with taxpayers’ funds - News.com

Luckily this sort of journalistic arse gas is just the last remnants of neocons, the religious right and modern conservatives. I assume this sort of rubbish is still printed because it’s popular. But popular with who? If you read the comments section of Akerman’s blog, you will start to notice a pattern. The same group of readers making the same sort of comments. Is this really indicative of the general public’s views or is it like flies gathering around excrement? From some of the comments, I feel it’s the latter.
that's it. time to remove the subsidies for these drugs, time to shut down this failed social experiment, time to tell those greenies and lefties who supported this joke it is over. the use of or purchase or the supply of illicit and illegal drugs is still a valid statute in the Crimes Act. I am sick and tired of my money being wasted on spaced out loons who have no control over their own lives and expect everyone else to pick up the tab. maybe the chinese have the right idea - execute the users and the dealers. certainly save some money thats for sure. if they OD then let them die.
-null of Bankstown

Do you find the above comment offensive? You should but especially with the zealots who encourage this behaviour. I am so sick of braindead, anti-drug crusaders who keep criticising the advancement of medicinal treatments for their own self righteous ideology. For example, Akerman was one of the loud opponents of the ACT heroin trials and has consistently hammered every Harm Minimisation strategy proposed in Australia. There has been great success since then from similar heroin trials overseas but no admission to being wrong from the Michelin Man. His worn out conservative monologue has become his trademark which is incidentally is now regularly used as material for humorous articles in bloggerland. But Akerman is more than just a nattering bullfrog for poking fun at. As I indicated, he has the ear of many gullible Australians who form their views from Akerman’s strange display of logic. When he adds ups 2 + 2 and comes up with 514 as the answer, there are gasps of “ooo” and “ahhh” as the troubled logic hits home to his readers. But although there might only be a certain type of reader who agree with his bizarre take on the world, it may still be enough to help influence a media sensitive Rudd government.

Akerman lives in John Howard’s 1950s fantasy world. In this world there are no drugs or addicts just good old booze. There are no gays or other dysfunctional people, just white Aussie blokes with a wife and 2-3 kids. Reality really upsets Akerman and his disdain for anything out of the normal especially drug addiction is infamous.

Like fellow conservative opinion writers, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair etc., Akerman is woeful at telling the truth. His spin on issues to further the alienation of drug addicts and users might be entertaining but is always far from the facts. In his article, he uses Norway as an example of why the Sydney MSIC should be shut down but it’s disingenuous and a good example of his tactics. The safe injection centre in Norway is like having a MSIC in the middle of Victoria. Safe injection centres only work where there is a concentration of intravenous drug users and this is the model used throughout the world. The Norwegians wanted to trial their own MSIC but it wasn’t financially feasible considering the location of injecting drug users. They did the right thing and closed it down because the scientific trial showed that it was not the right solution considering the demographics. They did not closed it down because of moral issues like Akerman indicates but purely on scientific research data. Akerman has taken this as a failure but neglects to explain the whole situation. Like most anti-drug crusaders, this is their style ... shallow, nasty and sensationalist.
Maintaining addictions and providing refuges for clients of drug syndicates, is not going to help reduce the number of addicts.
Providing mental health services for addicts will.
-Piers Akerman. Stop pandering to addicts with taxpayers’ funds - News.com

Again, he misleads the reader. To reduce the number of addicts was never a priority for the Sydney MSIC as he has been told on hundreds of occasions. Akerman regularly makes claims about Harm Minimisation programs failing by citing unrelated outcomes that weren’t part of the strategy. Instead of celebrating the expansion of options for addicts, Akerman expresses his desire to limit treatments to simple, outdated methods that fit in with his political views. He is dangerous to the advancement of medicine and the people it is trying to help. But like other moral crusaders, he cares not for the well being of others or the betterment of society but for his own selfish agenda.
The black market in oxycodone, a prescription pain killer subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the Repatriation Pharmacuetical Benefits Scheme, is fuelled by greedy doctors and accelerated by the encouragement drug addicts receive from the welcoming staff at the government’s King Cross facility.
-Piers Akerman. Stop pandering to addicts with taxpayers’ funds - News.com

The tiny percentage of drug users who visit the MSIC have no effect on the oxycodone market, what-so-ever. To suggest that the MSIC has anything to do with the increase in the oxycodone black market is farcical at best. Akermans logic is that 8,200 oxycodone injections at the MSIC has “accelerated” the increase in scripts for the drug to 1,630,000 per year, Australia wide. I’m sorry but I don’t know how to respond to this. It’s just too funny.

Who are the people that support Akerman and his views? If you read the comments from the two mentioned articles you will get an idea.
Get tough on medical practitioners who deal. Give the drug addicts one chance to get off it or execute them. End of story.
-Louise of Sydney

lock up all drug users and their suppliers i have no remorse if they are lined up and shoot like terrorist they are the lowest form of life anywhere in the world bashing people in their homes at night and our police force just sit around do nothing while it goes on taking bribes and other forms of payments just to keep drug users on our street to warrant their pay claims
-Eric O'Malley

Heres an idea, don't let ambulance officers or doctors treat drug takers (illegal ones, not those that take drugs for pain), if they overdose, they die. Taking drugs is a choice. Maybe then people will think about their own actions...
-locky of sydney

The level of anger and disregard for fellow humans is scary. Not one supporter of the articles had any basis of fact and they are all just opinions. On the other hand, the only comments that were based on evidence or research were discrediting the articles. This is common fare now for articles by our conservative journalists as they now have to face growing scientific evidence that upsets their selfish little worlds. Like religion having to eventually bow down before science, Akerman & co are doing their best to delay the inevitable. Issues like climate change, dwindling resources and drug addiction treatment can no longer be explained away as lefty ravings because our friend, the scientist puts reality back into our world. As the credibility of Akerman & co. is flushed away into the sewerage pit of self righteous obsession, all that is left is to hide behind their rabid supporters as an excuse to taken seriously.

To prove my point, read what comments were made to my post.

I posted this:
Well said Birdster of Sydney. Drug addiction has only been a problem since 1953 in Australia. Before then, addicts were simply prescribed their drug of addiction until the "addiction cycle" finished. No crime, no overdoses and no prejudice. It was treated as a medical problem unlike today. For those buffoons who make wild assumptions that addicts are just weak, maybe they should spend 10 minutes researching what they are proclaiming as fact. The fact is - drug addiction is a physical problem from birth that cause many people to seek out a replacement for what the body doesn't produce naturally. Yes, you are basing your mindless views on here-say and myths.
-Terry Wright

The responses to my comment:
"The fact is - drug addiction is a physical problem from birth that cause many people to seek out a replacement for what the body doesn't produce naturally." So this is the *fact* based on Terry Wright is it? What a load of nonsense. So the heroin user at the corner is just merely compensating for what the body is not giving him? What about the lady that's addicted to cocaine? You must be dreaming. Drug addicts ARE weak, there's no other explanation. They were weak when they couldn't say no to taking drugs in the first place and now they're too weak to stop their dependency on drugs. Don't blame it on genetics.

Terry Wright what planet are you from. Drug abuse did not start in 1953. There are records of cocaine addiction during the twenties and I suppose the opium dens in the 1800's didn't exist either. Some people were given the drugs in the past because they got their addictions from medical treatments during various wars. As for drugs being needed as a physical replacement for a natural deficiency and it being there since birth. What a crock. They may have a predisposition to addiction, but that is a psycholological one as they are not able to cope with the reality of life. The only ones who are born with an addiction are those whose parents where selfish enough to take drugs when they were in utero, they back up the addiction by showing thier children you need to drug yourself into oblivion to cope with life instead of facing your problems and dealing with them. A good reason why drug addicts should be steralised. Even If you do need to medicate for a chemical imbalance that does not mean doping yourself until you cant move or walking around in another world. Sounds like you are sprouting the typical self justification of a junkie.
-What planet are you from of Sydney

See the irony? My point was that many opinions were from misinformation and not based on facts and the two responses to me were exactly that. These are the masterminds who make Piers Akerman popular.


Warren. M said...

Our fat friend writes for The Daily Telegraph. Doesn't that say it all?

I heard the DT is called the thinking man's People magazine.

I am hearing too that Timmeh Blair is doing a centrefold for the thinking girl.

There's lots of thinking people reading the DT. I'm thinking it's crap.

Firesnake said...

Been assessing how many outlets stock equipment for IV use of oral meds, recently. The need for wheel filters in Melbournes East and proper media on safe use is high. Oral morphine is everywhere in certain circles.

Here's the comment plus a bit more I left for Pissed Angerman;

Just imagine the cost of methadone tablets, morphine, amphetamine, SSRI's [one of which induces violence and is as addictive as 'Ice'], more amphetamine for 'adult ADHD' or whatever else makes up where the PBS expenses really lie?! Or the $20 billion the Catholics made last year? Or the Hillsong/Gloria Jeans scam taking the pensions of psyciatrically ill kids and performing exorcisms and prayer sessions with tripped out demon slayers? [Spot the patient?]

$50 million handed to "upper socio-economic" Brethren schoools for special school funding - aka a rort. Or the Catholics - who own about 50% of our NFP's and scoop the lions share of funding - threat to remove essential treatment from a needy public unless Dr. God calls the shots? Or the sudden 'shock/horror/gasp' should "Christian doctors" need obey the abortion law [note the subtle change in emphasis] and support a patients rights. Need I remind anyone of the ocean of perversion on which Piers` [God supports slavery too] morals and his demonstrably false religion floats?

OxyContin Rx has increased 10 times that of oxycodone and we badly need injecting centres in Melbourne. Today, I will lunch with about 8 active IV users of oral meds at a local centre, then - as usual - thank them for the 20 or so hours of community work they each do every week. 160 by about $35.00, times 52 weeks, times thoudsands of drop in centres around Australia. Yep, evil - pure evil these drug users. We can't force 'em into Chinese labour camps, as they're already donating free time, so I guess yeah, shoot 'em. Then whose gunna run the voluntary recreation excursions for the older mentally ill clients, who Piers walks past in the street? I know! Hillsong!

Oh Piers, you poor, stupid man.

Still, there's enough of us to run 'workshops' on safe filtering of oral meds, ensure wheel filter availability, access, disposal and proper sharps accessories are distributed, badger disposal outlets to stock any and all items and continue to expose cash focused pharmacists who don't stock needles as the social burden they are.

I've just taken some new images of filtering morphiine tabs for injection, to go with 'Safe filtering for injecting drug users' podcast/presentations. Piers can have a copy - every week ad infinitum.

In the absence of a safe injecting facility it's part time & casusal workers/pensioners who pay for the promotion of safe IV use, support of HM and devote half their life to addressing problems succubi like Piers live on.

Anyway - in the real world - the push to place human rights and health above trashy papers and the lobbying for safer injection and Rx heroin continues.

No-one particularly likes the fact we have the issues we have.

When I need motivation, I just think of the world Piers and his little pleated shorts mates want for us.

Howard on steroids - no thanks.