Why Calls for Decriminalizing Drug Use, is Really Not a Care-full Agenda!


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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There's No Way of Saying No
Without Getting Bagged Out!

Is it possible is say 'no' to alcohol in this binge culture? Can the booze bully culture be slowed?  'Not really' is often the timid whimper of the peer pressured soul who is trying to 'fit in'. Out of this so called 'intimidating and seductive' cultural norm came the mantra 'kids will always drink, they experiment, cant stop it.' Now we know that is a well held and until recently strongly reinforced 'MYTH' in the halls of drug policy. However, we've known for decades, that it is not only possilbe, but actually pretty easy to say 'no thanks' and walk away. We also know that there is a couple of key things you need in place to help you do that. Any idea what they might be? Hmmmm... you're clever, you'll figure it out...just a hint, it's got more to do with your family, values and moral compass than you think

Anyway, Somazone did a recent survey to check to see if the 'just say no' response had any cred... turns out it did! Who knew?!  Well we did, but its not polite to 'i told you so', so we we won't say it... 'I told you so' that is.

Sometimes we tell them to “just say no”. But does that work? What do young people say, and is it effective? We ran a poll* on our youth website, Somazone, to ask just that: If you’ve ever said no to an offer of alcohol, what kind of line has worked best?

The answer voted most popular came as somewhat of a surprise—it was simply “No thanks” (33%). For others, saying “I can't, I'm driving” (16%), “Nah, I think I've had enough” (10%), “Thanks but I don't drink [name of drink]” (9%) or “I can't, I have to [study/work/play sport/other] tomorrow” (6%) worked best. Voted as least effective was saying that their parents would “kill” them or that they were allergic to the drink being offered. The remaining 18% said “I’ve never said no to alcohol”. 'Grog Watch' ADF

Booze and teenagers
(Prof John Toumbourou puts the Myths to Bed)

Assumption One: 'It's hypocritical to not let my drink when you were drinking at my age!' 

We are a lot better educated these days about he dangers of drinking, just like cigarettes smoking and not wearing seat-belts. We know all those things now are really risky and we wouldn't encourage them. So we're not being hypocritical, it's just that we're better informed.

Assumption Two: 'Kids mature physcially and mentally at different ages, so some are ready to handle alcohol at 16.'

Based on the matuity argument, the legal drinking age should be lifted to 21 because the brain develops into young adulthood. The brain isn't really ready for alcohol at 18...rules are rules and some of those rules are set by age.

Assumption Three: 'Alcohol is safe for kids ages 16+ when drunk in moderation.'

"INCORRECT! Recent Victorian studes show many 16-17 year olds who drink in moderation devleop alcohol problems in thier early 20's. Other research showe young drinkers are more vulnerable to the changes in brain structure caused by alcohol. These changes increase tolerance for alcohol, leading to increased intake and greater desire to drink in later life. They often develop a greater thirst for alcohol when they become adapted to it, but it's having a much greater destructive effect than it does on adults. The young person's brain is still developing and it's vulnerable to poisons."

Assumption Four: 'Parents will know what and how much their teenager is drinking if they supply the alcohol.'

"Teens given alcohol by parents are more likely to use theise drinks to kick off a binge. Young people tell us they drink the alcohol thier parents supply and then they drink other alcohol outside the parent's watch because the goal of drinking at that age isn't to drink moderately, it's to become intoxicated. Parents who refuse to supply alcohol have more succes in curbing thier child's drinking...So where parents set a hardline and refuse to supply alcohol, often the children rebel by drinking once or twice behond their back. With the partnes who allow alcohol the child has to come home absolutely smashed in order to rebel."

Assumption Five: 'Drinking helps you fit in, is fun and gives you more confidence.'

"Kids don't need alcohol to have a good time and fit in, despite impressions created by alcohol marketing. Kds who don't drink perform better at school and develop stronger social and emotional skills, whole those who drink become more dependent on alcohol for their enjoyment. Oftne when they reach their 20's they're absolutely dependent on alcoho to have any fun. That's why alcohol dependence is so high at the moment in young adults. Bluff and bravado around drinking gives teens the impression all their peers are doing it. But in reality more health-conscious kids in early secondary school are choosing not to drink and are relieved when their parents set a 'no alcohol' rule.'  

(Hearlad Sun, Monday March 5th 2012)

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