Thursday, 27 September 2012

The minefield that is alcohol and other drugs ...

There is no easy way of dealing with the topic of alcohol and other drugs. Over the years I have been called a 'promoter of drugs' (once actually being accused of contributing to the 'killing of young people' with the messages I was promoting in schools!), as well as being an 'anti-drug crusader' (a term I particularly dislike - it sounds like I should be wearing a cape and flying through the sky ...) ...it really is extremely difficult to get the balance right - you simply can't please everyone!

A book has recently been published in the UK by Professor David Nutt who has found himself right in the middle of the debate a number of times in the past year or two. Once the leading advisor to the UK Government on issues around drugs, he was sacked for, amongst other things, comparing the harms of taking ecstasy to that of horse riding! The book, Drugs: Without the Hot Air, has been described as written in "straightforward language" and "explores the science of what a drug is and how it works, why people take drugs, and how it affects them."

 I haven't read the book but do plan to as soon as I can get my hands on one. I certainly don't agree with everything that Professor Nutt has been quoted in the media as saying, but an excerpt of his book that has been made available on the Internet is very powerful. See what you think ....

"A terrifying new “legal high” has hit our streets. Methyl-carbonol, known by the street name “wiz,” is a clear liquid that causes cancers, liver problems, and brain disease, and is more toxic than ecstasy and cocaine. Addiction can occur after just one drink, and addicts will go to any lengths to get their next fix – even letting their kids go hungry or beating up their partners to obtain money. Casual users can go into blind rages when they’re high, and police have reported a huge increase in crime where the drug is being used. Worst of all, drinks companies are adding “wiz” to fizzy drinks and advertising them to kids like they’re plain Coca-Cola. Two or three teenagers die from it every week overdosing on a binge, and another 10 from having accidents caused by reckless driving. “Wiz” is a public menace – when will the Home Secretary think of the children and make this dangerous substance Class A?"

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