(Tell me again, why are we doing this?)


"I'm no wheelbarrow!" You know, everyone says that and the louder they shout the more predictable they become and eventually the easier they are to 'set up'! You see, wheelbarrows are powerless and empty objects that are filled with 'whatever' and go wherever the 'pusher' wants it to go!

Our first world market driven, consumer culture sets us up with three primary values. These suck us into a place where we believe the following values are so important. Now we may not write them down and rehearse them, but they are powerfully reinforced in culture and if left unchecked, they end up 'bumping' other values aside, values like courage, honesty, compassion and service.

These new 'values' are...a) Is it fun? b) Is it comfortable? c) Will it make "ME"'happy'?

If a couple of these three 'biggies' aren't on the table, or at least looked at, then we tend to walk away! But what are we walking away from? And ultimately where are we gunna end up? "Who cares" may be the 'try hard' reply... well, YOU DO! Unless you're so dysfunctional and messed up of course!

ICE wasn’t Andy’s first drug – no that was alcohol. He started bingeing at only 14. After using cannabis and some heroin, and then stopping for a season, Andy commenced ICE use after the death of his mother – it motivated him to get out of bed…but sadly much more than that followed.

Andy candidly, but unemotionally shares his concerns about the poor use of drug policy and the utter madness of ‘ICE Smoking Rooms’. Check out the full interview here…

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The Dutch government and Dutch society failed to realize the country had moved from consuming drugs to producing them, and on a global scale.

“I have grave concerns about the disruption that addictive drugs are causing. The drug economy undermines every aspect of society and threatens the legitimate economy. But it also threatens our standards, our values and our security.”                             

Dutch minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus

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Building or Demolishing Community Resilience?

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Social media platforms are increasingly being used as a market place for illicit drugs, according to the first definitive study of the practice.

The Volteface study found that almost half of under-18s questioned were unconcerned by the appearance of illegal drug adverts on their social media sites.

Lizzie McCulloch from Volteface said the relatively recent phenomenon of drug dealers selling their product through social media had almost become normalised.

"The fact that we've only recently heard about it and now one in four young people are reporting seeing drugs advertised for sale, that's absolutely staggering and actually, we suspect the number is far higher because these ads are popping up much more frequently," she said.

"It's hard to find youngsters who are not seeing these adverts and what we found surprising is how unconcerned young people are by them. For them, it's a normal part of day to day life."

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“The war on drugs”: what a bombastic, vainglorious phrase that is.

‘Look at me’ says the politician or pundit who uses it approvingly, ‘look how tough I am’ .

But for the politician or pundit who uses it disapprovingly, there are equal and opposite pretences: ‘look at me – see how reasonable I am, how realistic!’

But the war on drugs isn’t a war at all. It is an ongoing and complex process of law enforcement. It has different components which are handled in different ways by different jurisdictions and with differing degrees of effort, intelligence and success. Generalisations are impossible – except one: unlike war, law enforcement is never ‘won’.

Unless rendered obsolete by broader economic, social or technological change, crimes are rarely, if ever, eliminated. Theft, fraud, counterfeiting, people trafficking, knife crime, smuggling, tax evasion: there’s no end to any of those – and yet the ‘war’ against them all continues because the aim is not victory, but containment.

The complaint that government action against an undesirable activity ‘will only drive it underground’ overlooks the fact that this is better than the alternative – i.e. having it out in the open. There are certain things that law-abiding people are entitled not to have normalised; not to have their children see; not have to struggle against alone without the law on their side. And that’s especially important for the poorest and most marginalised communities.

None of that means we should abandon those who slip into the clutches of drug dependency – and want help…a compassionate, rehabilitative approach to drug dependency and legalising drugs are two different things – and the former does not require the latter. Indeed, the criminal justice system can play an active and constructive role. The fear of getting caught, the shock of conviction, the mandating of treatment and the restriction of supply can all help in the process of getting people off drugs and keeping them off.

Here’s another two things that can go together: the availability of a legal, regulated and abundant supply of drugs and a thriving criminal trade in the same or similar substances. In theory, legalisation should mean no more illegal supply – after all, why go to some guy down an alleyway when you could go to a licensed outlet with unadulterated products sold in standard units?

In practice, it’s more complicated than that – as America’s opioid epidemic proves beyond doubt. Far from pushing out the pushers, the over-prescription of entirely legal opioid-based medications has created new opportunities for them. By expanding the size and the demographic diversity of the opioid dependent population, the legal trade has expanded the market for illegal opioids including heroin. If your prescription has run out, or you need something cheaper (or stronger or perhaps merely different) then the dealers will sort you out. Of course, the product may or may not be cut with super-strength synthetic opioids like fentanyl – which is key factor in the epidemic’s horrific and worsening death toll.

Remember, all of this has happened in the context of a regulated and abundant supply of unadulterated opioids, and yet everything that isn’t supposed to happen has happened. The criminal trade hasn’t just survived, it has extended its reach – and innovated in all sort of dangerous new ways.

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I am Lyla P,

Optimistic, courageous, influential, and understanding 

Admirer of those who communicate effectively and express their views calmly 

Who fears for one who doesn’t assess their circumstances properly and responds in a way that causes dangerous consequences 

Who needs positive peer pressure, so I can clearly evaluate the right decisions to make that will maintain a stellar reputation 

Who tries to avoid situations when my “friends” pressure me to make immature decisions and harm my body 

Who wants to be a confident upstander for my friends when they’re in unsafe situations 

Who hates those who anonymously bully innocent people through the internet and don’t get caught 

Who knows that there are great humans in the world that will stand up for those who get bullied in the shadows everyday 

Who hears the juvenile behavior from behind the middle school walls that are promoting underage drinking and other unhealthy habits 

Who sees strong individuals fighting for change and helping those people rehabilitate 

Who worries for vulnerable people who are preyed upon by negative pressure, and end up becoming addicted to tobacco, which harms themselves and others around them 

Who wishes that one day the government will make a law to outlaw smoking 

Who feels sorrow for all the innocent lives lost to D.U.Is each year  

Who would like to see more preventative and proactive programs that will help recuperate from alcohol overdose for all people  

Who pretends the opioid crisis is just magically going to  end one day  

Who will aid and give comfort to people struggling with addiction and help them regain careers and friends in society 

Who hopes that my peers and I will continue to make the right decisions which will lead to more open doors and opportunities 

Who finds happiness in achieving my goals and striving to accomplish more such as staying gritty on the soccer field and never giving up 

Who cares for citizens and animals who don’t have a voice in this wide world of ours 

Who strives to be an advocate for the voiceless, the environment, and even myself and my own views 

Who enjoys confidently expressing my opinions to my fellow classmates and peers to try and inspire them to be the best they can be 

Who gives advice to those fighting unseen battles on how to recover and find joy in life again 

Who dreams of a world where there is peace, good fortune, health, and kindness 

Who loves when humankind treats each other as equals and not just how they look on a spread sheet 

Who pledges to be true to myself, my family, and the great community that we share and live in 

Who will do my best to succeed in my adventure next year in middle school 

That’s what DARE taught me 

Lyla P (6th Grade)

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