Monday, 15 June 2009

DIARY: Sick Comments, Dalrymple and Faith

DIARY: I haven’t posted for a while so I have decided to include quite a few items in this one diary entry. It should tie me over until the next post. Don’t forget to leave a comment!
Sick Comments
I’ve been following the readers comments in the trashy Murdoch media recently. It never ceases to amaze me how naive, arrogant and vicious some of these readers can be. I always read that Australians have this “fair go” mentality and we are laid back and friendly. These Australians don’t seem to visit too often to the comments section of The Daily Telegraph, The HeraldSun, The CourierMail, The Adelaide Advertiser, The Western Australian or the website. Instead, there tends to be the sort of reader who posts this:
Let them die and overdose. They took this sh*t willingly. Sounds cruel but hey, why shold good resources such as the medics be sent out to save these tools? Someone more deserving needs to come first eg: heart attacks patients, stroke victims etc. Let the junkies die.
Posted by: 123
I think I might create a new section called Comment of the Week to highlight the ignorance of Australians towards drugs and the sick, delusional comments that fill the reader’s forums. Stay tuned if it goes ahead. 
This is great example of what I have been encountering. It started with an article about a rave where 26 people overdosed.
26 Overdose, But No Police
POLICE today admitted failing to search patrons at a dance party where 26 ravers overdosed, with four critical.
Then the comments came pouring in.
These idiots and all other drug users like them are just a waste of ambulance and hospital resourses. Let them all stew in thier own juice .
Posted by: Drug Free Aussie of Bendigo 
These druggies will get what's coming to them. Send them to the footy, I'll give them a spray what for then we'll see if they take drugs again. The law abiding public should give these druggies what for.
Posted by: Mark of Malvern East 
Let them lie where they fall.....who cares !! its about time society wakes to the fact that They want the drugs, they love the legalize them, build a wall around the club scene and he who enters never comes out.....
Posted by: Casper of Earth 
Why should the police waste their time searching these losers? If they die so what? Don't revive them - their selfish stupidity is clogging up our emergency wards. Less idiots in the gene pool and a job or uni place is then available for a worthwhile member of society - you reap what you sow.
Posted by: dugga of on my bike 
Comment of the day: 
"Ectacy is safe". Just a little bit degenerative on ones intelligence it seems. Let's get one thing straight: Ecstasy is not "safe". No drug is "safe" and the sooner people realise this the better off we'll be.
Posted by: Matt of Melbourne
So I chipped in with this:
Casper of Earth(11) - "Let them lie where they fall.....who cares !!" and Dugga of On My Bike(13) - "Don't revive them - their selfish stupidity is clogging up our emergency wards". What a bunch of sick twats. When you or your friends/family are boozed out of their minds and pass out, remember what you said. There are thousands more people smashed senseless from alcohol that "clog" up our emergency services and hospitals than drug users. If ecstasy was regulated, taxed and sold like alcohol, no one would need to take GBH and most of these overdoes wouldn't happen. It's bizarre that the law allows alcohol (which kills more than all illicit drugs combined) to be legal but not ecstasy (MDMA). It's always those who know nothing that make sick comments about drug users who overdose. Then they go out every weekend and overdose on alcohol themselves, spewing in gutters or passing out in public. Oh, did I mention drunks are the cause of most violence on the streets. The next time someone needs medical help from overdosing on drugs, the chances are that drug is alcohol. Maybe they should take your advice and leave them there to "stew in thier own juice" - Drug Free Aussie of Bendigo(6).
Posted by: Terry Wright
This is what followed.
To bad the whole 26 didnt die.
Posted by: Rex 
Seems to me that Police are damned if they do and damned if they don't. These idiots taking the drugs do so fully aware of the risks of poorly made drugs. Please don't insult the intelligence of the general public by claiming they are victims. Drug use needs to be criminalized and users jailed, as they are in other countries. No users left on the streets eventually means dealers will go broke. I do not feel sorry for these idiots. They should be billed for their emergency and medical expenses as well instead of us, the tax-paying public, being forced to foot the bill.
Posted by: Gary of Brisbane 
If I was a relative of an elderly person, child or other person needing emergency treatment or for that matter an ambulance I would be absolutely outranged that services had been diverted to attend to these grubs. They are grubs - they are committing criminal offences. Let them die en masse because no education programs are working, they still go out of their way to get their drugs knowing the possible outcomes. Maybe this is the way others will learn.
Posted by: Joy of Ipswich 
There is absolutely no way that a drug such as acstacy with its comletely unpredictable effect on the bodies phisiolody could be legalised. Not even in amsterdamme to they do this. Alcohol whlist yes I agree is a bane in itself none the less as with marijuana is a natural product not some laboratory concoction of posions. You might as well east ratsack. And the other thing is that due to the high potency of MDMA (you don't need much of it to kill yourself) it would be wayyyy to easy for people to OD on say 2-3 tabs as opposed to 2-3 beers or bongs.
Posted by: Justin of Melbourne 
I know that we have a problem with these kids that find the only way to have fun is to get high on these drugs. Sorry and I know a lot of you won't agree with what I have to say, but if they want to blow their minds of on these drugs then don't waste out medical officers trying to save them. Just let them go. Theyn know when they take this drug there are risks. If the rinks are not anhered to then what more can you say. DO THE CRIME DO THE TIME. Sorry but have had enough of hearing about drug abuse in this countr. I came up in the 60s and wastn't lured by drugs in those days, so why are we worrying about what is happing today???? If you want to blow your brains out on drugs then go ahead as far as I am concerned. We are wasting too much money and effort dealing with kinds that have had no dissapline in their youth and it is starting to show in their aduthoot. Get a life and start looking forward to a future where you now are in control and not your parents.
Posted by: Cathy of Gayndah 
Media, police and MP's please stop calling abuse of illegal drugs that result in a hospital visit or death an"overdose" as there is no correct "dose" for illegal drugs. All these stupid drug abusers do is place themselves and others in danger and tie up our over stretched ambulance and hospital resource's by they immature and selfish behaviour. The promoters and the venue should be put out of business permanently by the government.
Posted by: Adrian Jackson of Middle Park Vic 
I'd be pretty pissed off if I had needed to call an ambulance for a REAL emergency and had to wait with potentially fatal consequences due to these fwits who used up all the resources for their own stupid, self-inflicted problems. I say let them lay there in their own vomit and start banning ambulances picking up drug OD cases. I'm quite sure the wonderful people who work in EDs in our major hospitals would agree with me.
Posted by: Susanne of Coburg 
Pity they weren't all fatal.
Posted by: Mister Master of Australia 
It's about time ambulances stopped going out to drug OD calls or at the very least put them at the bottom of the priority list and just let the d**kheads lay in their own vomit. One day it could be you or a family member who has to wait for an ambulance because of the stupidity of one of the bottom dwellers and the consequences could be fatal. From now on no more tax payer funded support or medical intervention for drug users. I've had people close die from drug related issues and the rubbish they cause just isn't worth keeping them around. Let them dig their own graves.
Posted by: Fed Up of the real world 
Why is the slant on this story that the cops failed to do something. What about the morons that took the tablets. Who many more people have to die, suffer brain damage or end up in hospital before our poor bored youth learn a bloody lesson. DRUGS ARE BAD!
Posted by: Simon of Wyongah
And a few responses to my comment.
Terry Wright and others similar, the ambulance isn't there so you can go out and selfishly get wasted whether it is grog or some drug made with dunny water in the back shed of a criminal. Anyone who does is a sponge on society and a waste of tax dollars. There is nothing safe about regulating mind altering drugs like MDMA and GHB. they kill from the actions after they are taken because behaviour under their influence cannot be controlled. Every drug taker "thinks" they know what they are doing when in reality they prove time and time again, that they have no idea whatsoever. Time to grwo up if you want to party.
Posted by: Brent of Melbourne 
Terry Wright 3:20pm's posts like yours that makes a parents job 'that much harder' say 'if ectasy was regulated, taxed and sold like alcohol, no one would take BGH and overdoses wouldn't happen'...that's just irresponsible and stupid! NO DRUG should be 'regulated, taxed and sold'...(even dope will not get legalised, as who wants a bonged out bogan driving on our roads??)...anything that is chemically made is NOT SAFE!!!. NO DRUG!! But young people reading your ill informed post will only 'justify' that taking ectasy is 'really ok'...well its NOT!! And us as parents have our work cut out even further, to try to explain these stupid comments are NOT ACCEPTABLE!!! But l agree with what you said about alcohol...Alcohol is legal and thousands are affected by it...dometic abuse, addiction, drink driving, violent bashings??? You need to 'balance' your statement, and not be so hypocrital..
Posted by: Cheryl 
What can I say? Wishing drug addicts dead is abysmal. Who would make comments like “lay in their own vomit” and "Let them lie where they fall.....who cares !!" and "If they die so what"? Most annoying is the arrogance and self righteous attitude, especially since they are mostly misinformed and full of shit. They seem so convinced that their opinions are facts and are willing to comment on a public forum, spewing out hate and animosity towards people that don’t even know. This display of ignorance is dumbfounding and something that anti-drug zealots must surely be proud of. After years of propaganda and drug hysteria, the quest to demonise drug users is obviously working.
I have been without heroin for several months now and the craving is slowly receding. I really have to say it again ... thank you Slow Release Oral Morphine (SROM). I still get the tingles when I see footage of someone shooting up but it passes quickly. Is this finally it for me and heroin? Probably not but I feel it’s getting closer.
Simple Dalrymple
A recent article, Trivial Dribble Trivialises Dribbling Trivial Dribbler has caught the attention of a blog called, The Skeptical Doctor. Being Theodore Dalrymple groupies, they responded with Dalrymple and Drugs: The Value of Broad-Mindedness and attempted to counter some claims in my article.
But all should agree that Dalrymple is anything but myopic. Unfortunately, one such critic, a heroin addict named Terry Wright, responds with just this kind of invective. Angered by Dalrymple's argument that drug addicts are not helpless victims, but willing participants in their addiction, he responds with bald assertions and childish insults.
As usual though, they miss the point and instead write mostly about my claim that Dalrymple is myopic. Several paragraphs or over half of the article from The Skeptical Doctor describes how Dalrymple has many real life experiences and therefore cannot be narrow-minded in his views. Student of life or not, Dalrymple makes some assertions that are absolutely ridiculous and I simply point them out. 
withdrawal is medically trivial, unlike that from alcohol and barbiturates
The evidence is pretty conclusive that the great majority, though not quite all, of the suffering caused by withdrawal from opiates, insofar as it is real and not feigned, is psychological in origin and caused by the mythology surrounding it
Addiction should be treated as an aggravating circumstance, and an automatic additional five or ten years ought to be added to addicts’ sentences
(heroin withdrawal) can be easily controlled by reassurance, personal attention and general nursing care without any need for pharmacotherapy
-Theodore Dalrymple
Unlike what the The Skeptical Doctor suggests, I did not use my personal experience to debunk Dalrymple but just common, well known facts e.g. millions of heroin addicts who experienced hellish withdrawal symptoms. To suggest that heroin withdrawal is trivial is clearly wrong ... and myopic. For every example Dalrymple uses there are 100 opposing his views. And now, I am going to include a personal experience here and tell it as plainly as I can. Heroin/opiate withdrawal is the nastiest experience I have ever encountered. Nothing comes close to it.
Unlike Wright’s view of heroin addiction, which is based on his own experience of drugs, Dalrymple's views are based on both his experience treating thousands of addicts and an understanding of the scientific literature. "Romancing Opiates" (aka "Junk Medicine" in the UK) makes reference to these medical studies: [insert long list]
As on so many other topics, one may disagree with Dalrymple's conclusions on the matter of drug addiction, but to say that they are based on myopia, lies, simple-mindedness, insanity or fringe science is extraordinarily inaccurate. Exactly who is being subjective here?
Citing Dalrymple’s experience only makes matters worse. To be exposed to so many addicts and having so many medical papers to draw conclusions from means that Dalrymple is indeed myopic ... and that’s being objective.
The fact is that 99% of the medical world accept opiates as highly addictive and causing massive withdrawals. All the books, articles and ranting in the world will not change this. Only evidence and facts will. Dalrymple had previously written a book titled, Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy which attempts to dispel these facts as well as making other radical claims. The book was hailed by conservatives as a revelation but the medical world was not as enthusiastic or as impressed.
The book is eloquently written, weaving elements of history, literature, pharmacology, and personal philosophy into a plausible-sounding argument that may convince the reader with no prior knowledge of addiction. However, other than having "very briefly run a drug addiction clinic in a famous university town" and supervising the opiate withdrawal of a number of patients under his care, the author does not otherwise claim any hands-on experience in the ongoing management of patients with addiction disorders. Dalrymple appears to take his narrow experience with a severely affected segment of the opiate-addicted population and generalize it to everyone suffering from opiate addiction.
-Roman D. Jovey, MD - Medscape
If you’re somewhat confused about the timeline for the above, here it is simplified:
2006: Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy (Book) 2009 - Jan: Withdrawal From Heroin Is A Trivial Matter  (Theodore Dalrymple - The Spectator) 2009 - Apr: Trivial Dribble Trivialises Dribbling Trivial Dribbler (The Australian Heroin Diaries 2009 - Jun: Dalrymple and Drugs: The Value of Broad-Mindedness (The Skeptical Doctor)
You decide for yourself.
A Faith I Can Relate To
The current trend for bands to reform and artists to come out of retirement has irked sceptical music fans. Faith No More(1981–1998) has jumped on the bandwagon and announced a European tour and surprisingly has excluded their own country, America. Incredibly, one of the members did admit during an interview that Australia might be included at a later date. Although this old, fragile body is not fit to relive the glory days of rock concerts, it is currently in negations with my brain to attend a Faith No More reunion concert if it happens in Australia. My body has many objections to standing for 2 hours in a crowd of sweaty punters, banging their heads to the likes of Faith No More but my brain can be very persuasive at times. The internal struggle within should see some fiery times if and when they announce an Australian Faith No More concert.
Sad News
My best friend’s son committed suicide the other day. A normal, 15 year old student with no known problems just went into his room and hanged himself. No one knows why and there were no warnings. He didn’t take drugs, drink alcohol or even smoke. He had a good relationship with his parents and extended family which only makes it harder for everyone. My friend committed his whole life to raising his son by himself and was totally focussed on being a dad. A sad loss which will effect many people for a long, long time.


Bron said...

Always good to get an update, Terry!

Those comments are rotten to the core. Those people who write and think those things should hang their heads in shame. The notion of a "fair go" is such a myth in this country. Scratch the surface and it's a load of codswallop! Doesn't exist.

Sorry to hear about your friend's son. That is sad and always devastating when it's unexpected.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Bron.

The display of hatred is stunning. I also notice that some comments made about Schapelle Corby and the Bali 9 are equally as sick. On a lighter note, some of the readers are sooooo thick! I especially love those who rattle off statistics and facts that aren't even true. LOL.

Thanks for your concern about my friend. He is staying with me for a while later this week. Incidentally, when my wife died, he came and looked after me for a few weeks. I will never forget that. I suppose it's my turn.

See ya.

zoot said...

Re the toxic comments: I had a heart attack brought on by my 25 yr drug habit.
Luckily(?) my drug of choice was legal, nicotine, and I could comfort myself with the thought that over the years I had paid enough tax in maintaining my habit to cover the cost of my hospitalisation.
I'm sure there's a lesson there, if only we can educate people to recognize alcohol and nicotine as drugs of addiction.

Andrew Sharp said...

The comment you attribrute to Dalrymple - heroin withdrawal can be easily controlled by reassurance, personal attention and general nursing care without any need for pharmacotherapy - is actually from a clinical textbook (see my comment to your previous Dalrymple post - there are plenty of others).

As for 'other than having "very briefly run a drug addiction clinic in a famous university town" and supervising the opiate withdrawal of a number of patients under his care, the author does not otherwise claim any hands-on experience in the ongoing management of patients with addiction disorders.'

Dalrymple spent 15 years as a prison doctor and psychiatrist in britain's second biggest city, Birmingham. During that time he dealt with literally thousands of heroin addicts. I hardly call this experience minimal.

He would certainly not welcome the deaths of any addicts - indeed he would regard them as a tragedy.

All he is saying is that people have a choice as to whether they take heroin (and other drugs), that to do so is a bad choice and that it does not help them to pretend otherwise.

The fact that not all doctors agree with him should not surprise us - they make their livings out of medicalising all sorts of things, after all.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Zoot.
This might interest you.

Media release from ADCA:
Drug Action Week 2009 (June 21-27), coordinated by the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) focuses on the theme Alcohol is a drug – TOO! and aims to raise community awareness of alcohol and other drug issues, and to recognise the achievements of the frontline workers in the alcohol and other drugs sector.

Thanks Andrew.
Not everything Dalrymple says is wrong. I agree that choosing to take heroin is a personal choice for most. What drives that choice is not simple or a moral issue though. He seems to have his conclusions firmly planted in his head and is willing to say anything to prove it. I usually see this type of analysis from anti-drug warriors who cherry pick data to prove their point.

The easiest way to debunk some of Dalrymple's theories is by highlighting the massive number of medical professionals who simply disagree with him. For example, millions, if not tens of millions of medical workers accept that heroin withdrawal is extremely difficult. It may only last less than a week and the chances of death is rare, but it is enough to deter most addicts at least once. I don't usually like using personal experiences unless it's a diary entry but I find full opiate withdrawal impossible to complete. The pain and despair is indescribable. To write off this suffering as fraudulent or exaggerated competes with logic and the worldwide medical industry.

BTW, thanks for the corrections.