Monday, 2 November 2009

CourierMail - Cocaine Hysteria Thrives in Trash Media

I’ve read some really silly articles about drugs lately but this cracker from Jackie Sinnerton in the Courier Mail needs your attention. Not for the profound message it attempts to sell you but to brighten up your day. Maybe I’m just a sucker for accidental self parody from self righteous or ignorant twats but reading this type of article really makes my day ... and makes me laugh. It’s like watching The Office(UK) where you get pleasure from cringing at some idiot trying to be something they’re not. Which reminds me, do you remember the Fiona Connolly article in the The Daily Telegraph last year titled Cokehead Should be Ashamed? If you do then you may be forgiven if you think the authors are sisters.

Cocaine Parties Thrive In Suburbia
Courier Mail
By Jackie Sinnerton
October 2009

A FOUR-wheel-drive makes its way to the front door of a well-loved suburban home.

It's a two-income, two-child abode. Worth a million, but heavily mortgaged. This is not rock star territory.

The mother of the house follows her fortnightly routine. She checks that the kids are distracted and pops outside, takes the envelope off the driver and exchanges pleasantries.

Nothing cloak and dagger.

No names or money are exchanged.

Apparently her husband takes care of the financial business with a guy in the city – $350 she believes. They spend $700 a month.

The transaction is completed.

It is as straight forward as someone delivering the milk.

The lady of the house then rushes upstairs and secretes the envelope in her bottom drawer – away from tiny hands.

No need to check the contents – it is always the same. A gram of cocaine folded in foil paper and tucked into a plastic bag.

Back to the kitchen to prepare school lunches. There will be no mention of the delivery until Saturday night when the guests arrive.

Looking past the manicured hedges, French doors and shop-buffed people-movers in suburban driveways unearths a shocking reality.

Sarah does not use cocaine. But her story, like a script from a bad episode of Desperate Housewives, paints a surreal picture of what family life in the 'burbs can be like when the lights in the children's rooms go out.

Sarah reluctantly discloses the happenings of the night out when she stumbled upon the drug culture lurking in the shadows of suburban streets.

Sarah's family was invited to a social evening at a friend's home on the outskirts of the city.

"My husband and I were invited to a party at a friend of a friend's," she recalls. "They live in a really nice house – they are both professional people with kids and are heavily involved in the kids school functions and sport.

"Kids were invited to the party. It all seemed quite harmless to begin with but as the evening wore on I certainly got my eyes opened.

"Early on it was just like any other family barbecue: Kids were running around everywhere and parents were enjoying a chat and a drink.

"As it got later, there seemed to be a huge urgency to get the kids settled down in makeshift beds upstairs.

"Only adults remained downstairs, and they just continued to enjoy the evening with another drink.

"Then at the top of the stairs the signal came from one of the dads. It was the all-clear. All the kids, including mine, were asleep.

"I remember looking around a little bemused, and that is when a few of the parents brought out little plastic packages of cocaine from their pockets.

"I was blown away. I may have enjoyed a joint in my youth, but hardcore drugs amongst friends of friends in a suburban house! I admit, I was very intrigued.

"I took it all in. Agreements had been made between some of the couples. 'Tonight it is your turn'. It's a bit like who is going to drive home. One parent has to remain sensible in case of child emergency."

A growing number of Australian suburban homes play out similar scenarios as parents dabble in narcotics, and Queensland's suburban sprawls are not immune.

Most of the state's cocaine use takes place in the southeast corner – but it is the affluent areas rather than the lower socio-economic areas so often tainted by drug use that have been pin-pointed as a problem.

"The people at this barbecue were mostly professional, well respected members of the community who support their children's school building funds, hold down challenging jobs, and make sure their kids eat their greens and don't talk to strangers," Sarah continues.

"Thankfully the set-up was fairly controlled, and a person was allocated to watch the kids at all times.

"But my heart was racing, I could only think about what would happen if the police came. Would I be in trouble too? I decided I would grab my kids and get out, but I didn't want to look panicked, so I chatted and smiled as I made my way through the crowd.

"During that time, as I located my husband, I watched some people disappear into the downstairs toilet. But more blatantly, a couple of the men just lined up their powder on the dining room table, using a credit card to straighten the edges.

"Then they rolled up paper money, and got into it.

"It crossed my mind how maxed out that credit card must be.

"I am not a prude by any means, and have had my fair share of alcoholic drinks over the years, but by all accounts listening to the others at the party I am obviously somewhat behind the times."

For some, having a few drinks doesn't cut it anymore. Drug-fuelled Saturday nights are the way to go.

"I felt like a scared child when offered the drug," Sarah said.

"I politely declined.

"Not everyone used drugs that night. In fact, maybe less than one-third of those at the party, but most people seemed unperturbed by the behaviour."

Sarah says some of the women sensed her horror at what was unfolding before her, and tried to talk down the implications of the activity.

"Apparently that the best thing about taking the drug was that you feel great about yourself, it increases self-confidence and it is easier to let yourself go," she said.

"Certainly the party picked up quite dramatically and before leaving I saw another person go back for more.

"I remembered hearing once that cocaine can give you seizures and I couldn't help but worry that someone was going to have to call for an ambulance.

"Imagine the scandal if all these very respected citizens ended up in the police station for doing hard core drugs? What about the poor kids then?

"No one seemed too concerned about the down sides. All I heard was it makes you feel energised, powerful and enhances the libido – it works wonders for the love life.

"I did hear the words 'recreational' and 'social' used quite a lot that night. Whether to convince me or themselves, those who chose to snort were very adamant 'I hardly ever do it, it's just for fun'."

But according to the experts there is no such thing as recreational drug taking.

There is nothing but bad news at the end of the white dust track.

Coke, crack, dust, nose candy, white lady – whatever you want to call it – cocaine kills people.

It's not called "the Addicter" or "Great Deceiver" for no reason.

When absorbed into the blood stream, it is a very potent drug.

A small amount – one to three milligrams – produces extreme stimulating effects on the brain by releasing a chemical, norepinephrine, from the nerve endings.

It elevates the mood and helps boost energy levels and mental activity.

It helps you feel invincible and wipes out fatigue.

But what goes up must come down.

This state of euphoria can be followed within 30 to 60 minutes by a "let-down feeling" of depression and dullness.

According to Drug Arm counsellor Richard Norman, cocaine is often included in cocktails of drugs and is not always the primary drug used.

It is often mixed with other drugs and alcohol – adding to the toxic mix.

"It is ridiculous to think that you can use cocaine recreationally," he said.

"It depends on the person's build, but it doesn't take long before people start to yearn for that euphoric feeling more often.

"The middle-class demographic is a difficult one to understand, because they are not likely to come to public rehabilitation or counselling centres.

"I would imagine they would go to their GPs or private counsellors – there is a lot at stake. It's illegal as well as highly dangerous."

While the drug is no longer just reserved for millionaires, there can be a huge financial impact on the user if they become dependent on cocaine.

The 2007 National Drug Strategy's Household Survey showed cocaine consumption was at its highest level since 1993.

It's a risky way to get through domestic stresses.

It is possible to build up a resistance to the drug, which means people need to take larger and larger doses to achieve the same high.

For some, there can be the opposite effect – where just small amounts are enough to prompt a rush.

Psychological withdrawal symptoms can hang around for many weeks and may include intense cravings, depression, anxiety and angry outbursts.

Physical withdrawal symptoms include tremors, nausea, insomnia and muscle pain.

Not something you'd want to deal with on the school pick-up run.

So what is it with Murdoch journalists and drugs ... especially cocaine? No, I’m not talking about the hypocrite Piers Akerman and his alleged coke habit but those who suddenly write some incredible story of drugs reeking havoc on societies values? Do they feel that they must make a contribution to the anti-drug effort regardless of whether they have something to say or not? It seems that way if you read Jackie Sinnerton’s article. First of all, is this story made up? It feels like a collection of clichés, scenes from a bad novel and moral claptrap rolled into one. Seriously, someone monitoring the kids giving the all-clear, it’s OK to do drugs now ... the kids are asleep! And designated abstainer ... in case of a child emergency? Pffft. Is this really a scene from an 80s TV movie? The bit that got me laughing loudest though was the names that cocaine is supposedly called.
It's not called "the Addicter" or "Great Deceiver" for no reason
-The Courier Mail: Cocaine Parties Thrive In Suburbia by Jackie Sinnerton

The “Great Deceiver”? Oh, dear god, strike me down. It’s certainly not a term I am familiar with but a little bit of research on the intertubes shows that Satan is usually called The Great Deceiver along with a few examples of various drugs. Reelizations Media produced the very popular Marijuana and Recovery Counselor Guide which references marijuana as The Great Deceiver. The California Department of Justice released a video called, Meth: The Great Deceiver in 2002 and in 1990, the US Drug Czar, William Bennett wrote an article in First Things, published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life. Here’s an extract:
I continue to be amazed at how often people I speak to in treatment centers refer to drugs as the great lie, the great deception, indeed as a product of the Great Deceiver. An astonishing number of people in treatment have described crack cocaine to me simply as “the Devil.”
 -William J. Bennett : First Things - Drugs and the Face of Evil

So where the hell did Jackie Sinnerton get the idea that cocaine is commonly known as The Great Deceiver? If you think this definition is amusing then Google the other well known name, “cocaine - "the Addicter"”. The result ... oh. mmm well, there is no record anywhere of cocaine being called “The Addicter” except in her own article. The author just made it up. This should give us a clue to the authenticity of the article and what depths the Murdoch press will lower itself to. Pooeeeee! - forget all that. Who cares? It’s such a fun read and an opportunity to see how far some so called journalists will go to write an interesting story.
Coke, crack, dust, nose candy, white lady – whatever you want to call it – cocaine kills people
-The Courier Mail: Cocaine Parties Thrive In Suburbia by Jackie Sinnerton

Dust? Crack? White Lady? Apart from crack being a different form of cocaine and comes as a rock that can’t be snorted, who the hell calls cocaine “dust” or “white lady”? Maybe in Starsky and Hutch or CHIPS but not in the real world down-under. Well as far as I know.
But according to the experts there is no such thing as recreational drug taking
-The Courier Mail: Cocaine Parties Thrive In Suburbia by Jackie Sinnerton

There’s at least 150,000,000 recreational drug users worldwide who might disagree with this statement. And who are these experts she quotes?
It is ridiculous to think that you can use cocaine recreationally
 -Drug Arm counsellor Richard Norman

Oh, not an expert but a counsellor for an organisation(Drug Arm) that originated from the Temperance Movement 2 centuries ago. Remember the Temperance Movement? Their claim to fame is alcohol prohibition in the US and the push to ban drugs.

This article is just more drug hysteria from the Murdoch press designed to sell papers and collect webpage hits. Incidentally, the article was published simultaneously with another piece about suburban cocaine use, Housewives Turn To Cocaine Abuse In Queensland. Co-written by Sinnerton and Paula Doneman, the article is filed under that infamous Courier Mail special, The Drugs Scourge which may give us some insight into the it’s contents. The article is wrapped up nicely by one reader:
Ahead of the release of new findings from the Crime and Misconduct Commission on illicit drugs, intelligence director Chris Keen confirmed that cocaine use in Queensland "is more prevalent over a wider range of demographics"....where does this say anything specific about "housewives"...the whole article is based on the suppostions of ONE man...Richard Norman who said...""I could see how stressed-out, middle-class housewives would single out cocaine to help them perform better at work, look after a family and house and still have the energy to party," Jackie Sinnerton and Paula Doneman have taken this remark and ran with it..they and the Couriermail should be ashamed of themselves..but I suppose the headline is the thing and drug addicted housewives reads better than..increase in drug addicts in south east Queensland. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. I agree this story is plagiarised and deliberately skewed to target housewives.
Posted by: lyn of melbourne 4:09pm November 01, 2009
-Comment from Courier Mail Reader

The claims of inevitable problems like tremors, nausea, insomnia, muscle pain and addiction are what a hard core addict might suffer and not what a standard recreational cocaine user would encounter. Also, what has been left out of these articles is more important than what was included with much of it merely opinions without any evidence or backing.
There is nothing but bad news at the end of the white dust track
-The Courier Mail: Cocaine Parties Thrive In Suburbia by Jackie Sinnerton

As cocaine use rapidly increases, the number of those requiring treatment hasn’t risen proportionally. It's probably because the addiction level of cocaine(17%) and alcohol(15%) are nearly the same. The truth is, most cocaine users take it in moderation and usually reserve it for special occasions. Similar to how most drinkers choose to exploit their drug of choice. Most drinkers don't need treatment and neither do most cocaine users.

The World Health Organisation conducted the largest ever study of global cocaine use in 1995 and stated:
Occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to severe or even minor physical or social problems … a minority of people start using cocaine or related products, use casually for a short or long period, and suffer little or no negative consequences, even after years of use
-World Health Organisation Report

Sadly, this report was just too truthful for the "War on Drugs" mindset of the US and UN. The US threatened to withdraw funding for all of the WHO’s research projects and interventions unless they "dissociated itself from the study" and withdraw the publication. The report was shelved and never released. So now we are left with articles from the trash media and the constant lies and exaggeration from anti-drug zealots. No wonder we have a drug problem.

In June 2009, an excellent article by Ben Goldacre detailed the WHO cocaine report and the subsequent coverup in the Uk newspaper, The Guardian. This is a must-read article: Cocaine study that got up the nose of the US.

Related Articles:
Housewives Turn To Cocaine Abuse In Queensland - The Courier Mail
Cocaine study that got up the nose of the US - The Guardian
Journalist Should Be Ashamed
Cocaine - Australia’s Next Drug Epidemic?
CourierMail - The Media Scourge


Gledwood said...

Not that journalists EVER take drugs... ESPECIALLY Murdoch journalists...

Gledwood said...

I used to read the Murdoch press all the time though despite the hipocrisy. Basically he knows what people WANT to read and what sells. So his Sunday Times UK was far better than any of the competition. The drugs-hypocrisy is rife in ALL the press here. The Murdoch papers are no better or worse than any others ...

rougevert said...

So it's impossible to use cocaine recreationally... but these people spend $700 a month? Two grams? That's not recreational use?

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Guys.
Over here Gleds, the Murdoch press is a joke. Very right wing and sensational. It's also the major source of information for the masses and has a major paper in every state. It's like Fox News for Rednecks.
The British tabloids sure have a reputation but we are catching up fast.

Yes, Rougevert, it's bullshit reporting as usual. Most drug users are recreational users but that won't stir up the public like the journalist wanted.

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it