IS DE-CRIMINALISING DRUGS FOR PERSONAL USE THE WAY FORWARD?

BUSTEDI heard there was some sort of Australian Sex Party out there thanks to Adelaide agency Fnuky’s cheeky 2010 election campaign for them, aptly titled Jerk Choices.

Although I naively thought at the time that they might be a bunch of randy people whose mission it was to have us all propped up at strip shows or running around nude at the beach.   Why they’d want us nude at the beach, I don’t know!

So when I met a smart young man recently who insisted I must meet his friend Fiona Patten, a member of the Australian Sex Party, I was a little intrigued.  Intrigued to think he saw more sex in me than I have seen in myself, but as they say sex sells and I was on board for an introduction.

I walked into our meeting place; eyes darting around to see if I could guess who looked the most like a ‘sex party ‘candidate.

And far from being what my naïve self may have presumed seeing, woman in tasselled bikini top waving a copy of FHM at me, an elegantly dressed lady smiled across at me and I decided that if anyone was looking sex party, whatever that even means, it was probably more me.

Fiona is clever and committed and just happens to be passionate about a lot of things that relate to sex and the Adult Entertainment industry. Which I might add, is far broader than just vibrators and sex workers, people.

So many questions, so little time.

Understanding the word sex is guaranteed to get attention and hence having it in your party name is going to get you talked about, she knows that, however after learning more about their policies, I wondered whether it might also overshadow the seriousness of some of their major policies which I was genuinely very impressed with.

For instance, their stance on drugs and abolishing crime penalties for people found purchasing, carrying and consuming drugs for personal use – which as a headline might not sound like a great idea but dig a bit further and there is merit to its’ premise.

Using Portugal as an example, a country well known for its’ drug issues in the past, especially hard core drugs, who in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

Under Portugal’s laws now people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to face a panel which comprises a psychologist, a social worker and a legal adviser who put them under what I see as a healthy interrogation to find out the depth of the drug use firstly, but with the aim getting to the real root of the problem, which isn’t always about the drugs.
Fiona herself visited Portugal and was privy to the process first hand.  She witnessed one particular young man who rather than actually having an issue with drugs as such, through the non-judgemental and thorough panel discussion, admitted that he only did the drugs after consuming alcohol.

Upon further investigation, with questions regarding to how often he was going out for a drink and all the steps that lead up, this was simply a man with a temporary drink problem that drank because he was lost.  He didn’t have enough of a sense of purpose by way of a job, so there became the starting point of fixing his drug issue, and all the dark dots in between.

Not rocket science but just the acknowledgement by a progressive government that ironically accept that working backwards often leads to the real issue.

The problem with most people that make laws and decisions about drugs is that they are made by people who have never done drugs.

They know a lot about what’s popular opinion but their mission should be about helping people in society that are beginning to get off course, not treating them like they are already at The End.

DOES THIS POLICY MAKE SENSE TO YOU?  lOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS

It’s time people woke up to Stilnox rather than abusing it to go to sleep. My true story from 2010 re-posted

I keep hearing people say that we need to learn the lesson from Michael Jackson’s death! So what lesson is that? I believe the lesson is that the medical profession worldwide need to be held accountable for the drugs they prescribe – firstly being the right one’s for the right reasons, and secondly for the subsequent abuse of them by their patients. Just as a pub will be fined or shut down if something tragic happens to a patron who they over sell alcohol to. They are accountable to notice there is a problem, and nip it in the bud!

Two years ago I had to admit my mother into rehab after I realised she had become addicted to stilnox over a seven year period! Now ask any doctor or chemist and they will tell you that they’re not addictive, but what I know for certain that it was my mother who had to spend a Christmas propped up in a rehabilitation centre for over a month because instead of celebrate that year, I was visiting her in a place no one ever wants to see someone they love, least of all at Christmas! I cried every time I left.

Why did she end up on them? She was prescribed them to sleep during the time my nana, her mother was dying in hospital which went on for weeks. Understandably she was unable to sleep, and full of sadness and anxiety. Why did she continue to take them? I think because, as many other people out there, she had some pain and sadness that had built up over the years, and then became more intense after she saw her take mum her final breath! It’s a vicious circle because anxiety creates lack of sleep, and lack of sleep makes the pain harder to deal with.

Over the course of the seven year period I watched her turn into someone I didn’t know anymore, let alone one that felt like a mum. She sadly lost a lot of dignity during this time, and wouldn’t remember a lot of what she’d done. Rather than cringe with embarrassment and admit to a problem she’d laugh it off and joke that her friends called her eccentric! I hate to be blunt but there’s a difference between junkie and eccentric!

I refused to turn a blind eye to her behaviour, and I refused to let her destroy her life! I demanded I go to doctor’s appointments with her because I knew she was lying to me about how often she was getting her pills and quite frankly, wanted to know if the doctors she was seeing were aware or had bothered to realize that they were dealing with what was a manipulative addict! I remember seeing mum walk into her chemist one day so I waited till she left and headed in to ask the chemist a few questions! “Was a lady called Beverley Harper just in here?” The man nodded. “So tell me, would you say that stilnox is addictive?” “No, it’s not!” he said. “So how do you explain my mother coming in here every couple of weeks for nearly seven years and needing hundreds of these ‘non addictive’ pills?” “I have no idea madam!” he said sheepishly. Trying not to lose it and cry I said “I hope the drug company is paying you enough to make you sleep at night, and still be able to look me in the eye and tell me this disgusting drug isn’t addictive! I’ve nearly lost my mum! Have a good day!”

Through Michael’s death I hope the lesson we take is that people in pain will abuse themselves further because subconsciously they don’t like or care about themselves anymore. Simply looking down on a person for taking so many drugs is not enough, nor really makes sense. These people are not of sound mind anymore. They are sick and the people that have the power to treat them, need to treat them with a lot more care!