Thursday, 28 January 2010

Stop Repeating Yourselves ... You’re Wrong

How many times do we have to witness and ultimately pay for this ridiculous attempt to please an ignorant public, boofhead politicians and the moral police? Once again, at The Big Day Out, police caught only a small percentage of attendees with drugs while thousands got through. There were dozens of officers, sniffer hounds and public searches all meant to deter drugs from entering the festival. It happens all too often now with the costs mounting up and the shock value decreasing significantly.
Year after year we repeat the same warnings before the event starts, but every year there are still people who stupidly try to get past us and fail
-Superintendent Rod Smith
Why do the police keep doing the same thing, over and over, but expect a different result? According to many, Albert Einstein made a similar observation and claimed it is a sign of insanity. Repeating the same flawed strategy again and again but somehow expecting the latest result to miraculously be different. You get the drift here. The police keep giving out dire warnings that anyone bringing in drugs to a music festival like The Big Day Out, will be caught and dealt with harshly by the courts. Each year though, only a few people get caught. Most are given a caution while thousands simply bypass the sniffer dogs and continue on like the police never existed. This is repeated for each music festival in every state. Insanity? ... or just another fault with the prohibitionist model for dealing with drugs? It doesn’t take a genius like Einstein to work this out and in fact it didn’t. The cliché was actually coined by novelist, Rita Mae Brown.
Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results
-Rita Mae Brown, Sudden Death (Bantam Books, New York, 1983), p. 68
Not only do the police re-enact the same old strategy but they try to turn it around and put it on the people who attend these festivals. This gets to the crux of the futile approach taken by our government on drug control. We are historically consumers of drugs and we are always going to partake especially young people at a music festival. Whether the constabulary are there or not, drugs are going to be smuggled in and unless every single person, including the staff, the musicians and the police themselves are stripped searched, there will be plenty to go around. That olden but golden observation becomes apparent once more - if we can’t stop drugs getting into prison, how are we going to stop drugs getting into ... the Sydney show grounds, the Melbourne show grounds etc.
A total of 381 people were arrested, with police laying 104 drug possession charges, 12 drug supply charges, six assault charges and one malicious damage charge. Police also issued nine cannabis cautions, ejected 11 drunk people and caught 18 people trying to jump the fence into the venue.
-(AAP) PerthNow
It’s becoming all too common for the police to join the chorus of crooked politicians and agenda driven anti-drug zealots pushing out fear, exaggerated harms and lies. Droning on about “no drug is a safe drug” or “we’re putting drug dealers and drug users on alert ... we will catch you!”, might keep those “crooked politicians and agenda driven anti-drug zealots” happy but it’s not really productive. Like so much of the typical anti-drug rhetoric from the media and politicians, messages from the police are often produced just to please converts of the drug war or exploitable parents who have already been paralysed with fear. Think about the hundreds of thousands who use ecstasy, speed, cannabis etc. when they go out or on special occasions. Most of them have never had a problem with their drug taking or even seen any lasting negative effect. They have undoubtedly seen booze cause some major upsets but rarely does the same happen with recreational drugs. In fact, I’d dare say it’s the opposite and they have an absolutely cracker of a night. These are the supposed targets of these anti-drug messages but with the constant stream of dire warnings never coming to fruition, the message fails to make an impact. The truth is, and it’s a hard truth ... recreational drugs are taken so often because they are enjoyable, exciting and exhilarating with very little downside. You don’t hear this mentioned very much.
There is this idea with some young people that taking drugs enhances their day out, in reality, they are putting their lives at risk by taking illegal drugs sold by people out to make a quick buck.

They might think this is just an ecstasy pill, but as police members, too often we see the tragic effect of these foolish decisions.

Make no mistake, there is no such thing as a safe party drug.


No overdoses were recorded among the 10,500 people that attended the event
-Detective Inspector Mark Zervaas - (AAP) The HeraldSun
Yep, you read that right. After all the dire warnings, his last reported comment was, “No overdoses were recorded among the 10,500 people that attended the event”. And we wonder why these messages are over looked by the target audience as just more anti-drug babble.

Apart from being totally pointless, the attempt to stop drugs entering The Big Day Out raises a bigger issue. Why is such a dangerous drug like alcohol allowed to flow freely whilst so much effort is put into stopping safer drugs like cannabis, LSD and ecstasy? This elephant-in-the-room just keeps eluding us over and over as the anti-drug zealots come up with new, fanciful arguments over and over. Remember the constant grind about dope being a gateway drug? That took 40 years of repeated research proving it a myth. Then cannabis supposedly caused all sorts of madness including psychosis, schizophrenia and amotivational syndrome. After numerous studies, they too was finally narrowed down to effect only a tiny group of people with amotivational syndrome being a complete furfie. Since then, cannabis has been blamed for causing testicular cancer, lung cancer, making us sterile, changing personalities and being anti-social. They too are loosing out to science and research which means the anti-drug brigade will have to devise new symptoms of cannabis use to scare the public.

But it’s ecstasy(MDMA) that’s getting the fear treatment at the moment. It wasn’t too long ago that ecstasy was touted as the new drug scourge crippling society. Warnings of massive depression, holes in the brain as seen in CT scans and of course addiction ... all after even one pill. The hype was so intense that the anti-methadone campaign in the US, One Pill Can Kill was mistakenly taken up by anti-ecstasy groups, the police and local nutters.

Ecstasy was perfectly legal until it hit the dance scene in the US. The DEA in spectacular form, ignored a scientific court ruling and rushed through an emergency law to class it as a schedule I drug. This put an end to promising research into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychological problems. It seemed that too many young(and old) Americans were just having too much fun for the DEA. But it was a Newsweek article that put MDMA on the most feared list in the US. Newsweek cited flawed research that just one pill could create “holes” in the brain and they provided a CT scan to prove it. It was later revealed that the test subject monkeys had been injected with pure methamphetamine instead of MDMA and the hole in the brain scans really meant nothing. But the damage had been done. Much to the delight of anti-drug crusaders, ecstasy was now seen as a killer. It took over 2 decades of overseas research to eat away at the myths surrounding ecstasy and only now is the real truth coming out. Not addictive, very few deaths, very few problems, statistically safer than riding a horse.
Det-Supt Charlie Carver, of the Serious and Organised Crime Squad, said many seized ecstasy pills contained harmful chemicals such as chalk and washing powder.
-The Sunday Times 
The latest strategy by the anti-drug nutters is not aimed at MDMA itself but the contaminants that are mixed in by manufacturers to extend their product. You have probably read about ecstasy being be cut with glass, rat poison, cleaning agents, heroin etc. The reality is that ecstasy is now being cut more than ever but usually with other mind altering drugs like PMA, Mephedrone, caffeine and ketamine. As far as I know, the claims of glass, heroin and poisons being included in ecstasy pills are myths.
Ecstasy has never been cheaper or more dangerous in Perth, a major new study reveals.
 -The Sunday Times 
Ironically, it’s the drug laws themselves that present the most danger. An unregulated industry(prohibition) breeds crime and a black market where there is no age restrictions, health guidelines or quality control. To top it off, the federal and state governments won’t allow doctors to run pill testing booths at music festivals or raves. This leaves users at the mercy of criminals and what they decide goes in the mix. If you have a complaint, don’t ring The Office of Fair Trading or contact a consumer rights group. The illicit drug industry handles complaints in their own special way - usually with intimidation and violence.

If we look to the club scene in London for setting the trends here in Australia, we should be worried. As MDMA is becoming scarce in London, most ecstasy pills are being filled with steroids, caffeine and mephedrone, a drug we know very little about. This has caused the arrest rate for possession of MDMA to drop significantly in London over the last few year. From 1,197 in 2006 to 773 in 2008. 2009 is looking to be less than 500. This is not a case of drug manufacturers trying to extend their profits but because of a crack down on MDMA precursors by the authorities`. China is now the sole manufacturer of the main precursor for MDMA with exports coming from only 2 countries. They are all heavily regulated and monitored with less than 5 litres in total being sold in 2008 and 2009.
Our philosophy is that we don’t want people to die in order to learn a lesson
 -Students for Sensible Drug Policy
This might keep the AFP, DEA and other drug enforcement agencies happy but as usual, their mindless obsession and limited thinking is killing people. In other words, cracking down on the relatively safe drug MDMA, has caused a surge in PMA, mephedrone, BZP, GHB and other more harmful drugs. Why are anti-drug agencies and groups so inept with logic? They think that if you simply make it harder to get a certain drug then users will just stop taking all drugs? Or when a certain area is targeted by the police - drug users just don’t give up and the dealers quit to get legitimate jobs. The drug scene simply moves somewhere else. Haven’t they ever heard of the Balloon Effect? - squeeze one end and a bulge appears somewhere else.

So when will this farce stop? We have silly, ignorant politicians making all sorts of comical statements mixed in with deceitful politicians blatantly lying for some selfish agenda. Giving their support, are the moral crusaders who are mostly happy clappers from the religious right or the new breed of racist, Howard loving, pro-Israel, Tim Blair arse licking neo-conservatives. And in case you still have missed it, we have the sensational and heavily biased Murdoch media pumping out myths, lies and inane opinion pieces designed to brainwash a susceptible public.

Anyone with a hint of intelligence should be able to see the massive flaws in the current system. For example, why do we still have a major drug problem after 50 years of being “Tough on Drugs”? Why is alcohol still legal when it kills 10 times the number of people who die from all illicit drugs combined? Where are the masses of drug induced mental health patients? Why are there still so many drugs available when every week we hear that a new bust was supposed to greatly reduce drug supply?

Where is the common sense and pragmatism? Why do we spend billions on stopping drug supplies but drugs are now easier to obtain than ever before? Why do we keep rolling out the same expensive “Tough on Drugs” strategy when it never meets it’s targets? Why aren’t politicians caught out by the media for lying when they make brash, non-truthful statements? Most anti-drug claims by politicians are simply lies with no scientific evidence but for some reason, opposing political parties don’t just let it slide by but usually try to out do them. This childish banter of “I’m tougher on drugs than you” is purely political and only exacerbates the societal damage already inflicted. And the damage is real, costing many lives and causing incredible carnage. Why is this allowed to continue without any real scrutiny from the media?

While advances in science and medicine bound along exponentially, the approach to drug use lingers in the dark ages. Keeping the public ignorant and fearful of drugs is the prime objective for politicians because it’s a vote winner. That would change if the public were more aware of the facts but with decades of propaganda, myths and fear being forced on them, they don’t have hope. It’s spooky to think that just 10-20 minutes on the intertubes would expose a 100 years of misinformation and lies with the truth there for anyone who cares to find out.

Police Arrest More Than 300 People At Big Day Out
(AAP) PerthNow
January 2010

MORE than 300 people were arrested over the two-day Big Day Out music festival in Sydney, with one person caught with 24 ecstasy tablets, police said today.

Police, including officers from the Dog Squad and Commuter Crime unit, targeted drug and alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour at the festival in Homebush on Friday and Saturday.

A total of 381 people were arrested, with police laying 104 drug possession charges, 12 drug supply charges, six assault charges and one malicious damage charge.

Police also issued nine cannabis cautions, ejected 11 drunk people and caught 18 people trying to jump the fence into the venue.

Ambulance officers were also kept busy, with 1587 people treated by St John Ambulance volunteers over both days, while 36 patients were taken to hospital.

Many of those revellers were treated for dehydration, as temperatures climbed into the 40's on both days.

Drugs seized during the police operation included cannabis, ecstasy, ice, LSD, cocaine and amphetamines.

"One person was found entering the venue allegedly in possession of 24 ecstasy tablets," police said in a statement.

Superintendent Rod Smith said most festival-goers enjoyed themselves responsibly, but some people still hadn't got the message.

"Year after year we repeat the same warnings before the event starts, but every year there are still people who stupidly try to get past us and fail," Supt Smith said in a statement.

"The results also show that anti-social behaviour won't be tolerated, and those charged over the last two days will have to face the consequences at court."


TerminallyUniq said...

Such freaking BS!!!! and no surprise at all that the US and its ever-vigilant (ha) DEA so often leads the insanity parade. i feel like i should apologize or something. AND, it's not as though we could really, really, dessperately use a treatment, if not a cure, for post-traumatic stress anyway, if one can be found. yeah.

Anonymous said...

Taking x at a festival also has the appeal of being more reliable and economical. You can buy one for $25 and have an absolute ball, or you can buy 3 drinks (if you are lucky) for that price after waiting in line in the heat for over an hour. The markups and deals with alcohol companies also make people want to rebel against it (Black Market vs Big Business... both unethical).

Better not call them 'recreational' drugs Terry. That confuses us young people into thinking x is safe... because we are that stupid! And if they were just called 'drugs' we would never take them! (I hope you get the sarcasm. The debate over the naming of 'recreational drugs' is just another sign of the poor standard of drug discourse amongst politicians/media etc.)

Terry Wright said...

Thanks for your comment, TerminallyUniq.
It's a pity there are so many great Americans living in such a beautiful country with such a fucked up social/political system. The damage caused by fanatical religious nutters and ultra conservatives is just inconceivable. The DEA is the epitome of how religion and right wing extremism has corrupted a government dept. They are so dangerous!

Howdy Anon.
What do they expect to happen? They make it so painful to get a drink then are shocked when the punters turn to a safer, cheaper, more enjoyable, easier to get option. LOL!

Do you remember John Howard freaking out over the term, "recreational drugs"? Man, that was funny. I would love to discuss with him the difference between "safer" and "not as safe" drugs or the "fun" drugs vs. the "veging out" drugs. His head would implode!

Thanks again guys!