Giving a Damn

(and getting a clue)

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-25/calls-for-drug-rehabilitation-to-replace-criminal-punishment-qld/12588392

Anti-drug laws were always meant to be a vehicle to protect Community, family and our most important asset, children, from the harms caused by permission models that ‘grown ups’ believe they have the right to exercise around the use of psychotropic toxins.

These protective laws have not been used in any real punitive context for years.

It’s time we tasked these protective laws again in their most proactive framework – As the ‘Judicial Educator’.

The law used (not in a punitive context) but as with Problem Solving Courts, to facilitate not only exit from drug use, but entrance into productive, safe, health and community benefiting narratives, that are drug free.  You don’t have to change laws, but you can task that legislation to facilitate rehabilitation and recovery, as is being done more and more to great success.

The pro-drug lobbies completely fallacious meme of ‘war on drugs has failed’ only has traction for the uniformed. There has been now ‘war on drugs’ in this nation since 1985.  However, the ever growing ‘war FOR drugs’ continues to look to remove genuine tools that can bring best-practice drug use exiting outcomes, by mislabelling and propagandizing.

The Judicial educator is the perfect bookend for the other bookend of health and education. Together these will see, not further ‘permission’ for drug use and the ensuing uptake that always precipitates, but rather, as with Tobacco, a community with One Voice, Once Message and One Focus – the cessation of humanity, dignity, agency and family devastating drug use. That should be the agenda of all drug use reduction vehicles. The excising of any vehicle that can assist with that proactive and productive end, is not only non-sense, it is only adding to the harms that drug use does to our communities.

Once psychotropic toxins are an intrenched part of the behavioural mechanisms of an individual, whether it be short-term intoxication, or long-term dependency, the risk to health, safety and well-being of that individual and more concerningly, those around them requires more than a ‘doctor’ for change. Secure welfare engaged for rehabilitation continues to prove the safest and healthiest vehicle to assist that change.

We seem to care more for Tobacco users, than illicit drug users – Don’t the latter deserve the same passionate enabling to exit drug use, with no voice of permission or approval in the marketplace?

Rather there must be a thorough enabling, equipping and empowering of drug users to exit drug use, even more importantly before the inevitable dependency takes hold.

Any permission model – decriminalisation, legalisation or depenalization – does not add to that capacity of drug users to move out of drug use. However, it has and will continue to do so, if the only proactively coercive vehicle – The Law – is removed, further normalizing drug use.

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“Overall, the research consistently finds that sexual victimisation is associated with problem alcohol and other drug use. While earlier work established the association, more recent research has shown that child sexual abuse, in particular, is a general risk factor for problem substance use.”

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Harms of Prescription Opioids – TGA is finally starting the Fix!

Governments have now quantified just some of the short and long term harms of misuse of prescription opioids, particularly in the OST (Opioid Substitute Treatment) Arena. It is way past time to look at evidence-based and successful drug-use exiting recovery therapies.  

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“Compared to many, my childhood was a cakewalk. Because your childhood beat you around and left you in pain doesn’t mean that you’ll continue the cycle. Let your hurt be the source of your greatest compassion, the deepest love and understanding. You can do anything. 

Walk through it, don’t numb or hide.

It’s been twenty-eight years since I stopped drugs and dedicated myself to a spiritual path, but those hard drugs I did, the heroin, cocaine, and meth, they hurt me bad, it took a long time to really recovery from ‘em. I hope for you that you don’t waste your energy there. 

Even the Weed. Man, I was way too damn young for that Shit, it made growing up a more difficult challenge that it needed to be. For years and years, I made the mistake of trying to run away, before I learned to surrender, accept my pain as a blessing, trust in the love, and let it change me.”

Acid for the Children,  ‘Flea’ – Bassist and co-founder Red Hot Chilli Peppers

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Family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school.

Eating together was a small act, and it required very little of us—45 minutes away from our usual, quotidian distractions—and yet it was invariably one of the happiest parts of my day

Using data from nearly three-quarters of the world’s countries, a new analysis from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that students who do not regularly eat with their parents are significantly more likely to be truant at school. The average truancy rate in the two weeks before the International Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test administered to 15-year-olds by the OECD and used in the analysis as a measure for absenteeism, was about 15 percent throughout the world on average, but it was nearly 30 percent when pupils reported they didn’t often share meals with their families.

Children who do not eat dinner with their parents at least twice a week also were 40 percent more likely to be overweight compared to those who do, as outlined in a research presentation given at the European Congress on Obesity in Bulgaria this May. On the contrary, children who do eat dinner with their parents five or more days a week have less trouble with drugs and alcohol, eat healthier, show better academic performance, and report being closer with their parents than children who eat dinner with their parents less often, according to a study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

In her book Eating TogetherAlice Julier argues that dining together can radically shift people’s perspectives: It reduces people’s perceptions of inequality, and diners tend to view those of different races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds as more equal than they would in other social scenarios..

How then do we eat better, not just from a nutritional perspective, but from a psychological one as well?

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art,” said the 17th-century writer François de La Rochefoucauld. What “intelligence” means in the context of eating is debatable. There are those who obsess over their food—where it is sourced, if it is organic, the nebulous desire for culinary “originality”—who are known in the U.S. as “foodies” and in France as generation Le Fooding, both of which are the hipsters of cuisine, moneyed and sometimes picky. But this doesn’t seem quite like “intelligence” as de La Rochefoucauld meant it.

Perhaps to “eat intelligently,” one needs only to eat together. Although it would be nice to eat healthily as well, even take-out makes for a decent enough meal, psychologically speaking, so long as your family, roommates, or friends are present.

It’s incredible what we’re willing to make time for if we’re motivated. (Although we often end up just a bit too squeezed to make it to the gym in the morning, we can still find time to go to the movies after work.) Perhaps seeing eating together not as another appointment on a busy schedule, but rather as an opportunity to de-stress, a chance to catch up with those whom we love then, could help our children do better in school, get in better shape, and be less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Eating together also led children to report better relationships with their parents and surely relationships between adults can similarly benefit.

CODY C. DELISTRATY is a writer and historian based in Paris. He has worked for the Council on Foreign Relations, UNESCO, and NBC News. (July 2014)

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