The drug policy thread.

Techno Natch

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So Nick Clegg has come out and said it will be a part of Liberal Democrat policy to decriminalise drug use in the UK. Unfortunate for the pro campaign is that his word means very little.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-31716217

Still it's a positive step and this is being spoken about more and more now. Legalisation and then regulation is the only sensible way really and as good as decriminalisation is it will still mean that peoples only access to drugs is through a unregulated source.

There is a interesting article here on safe injecting rooms and the positive impact they can have, not only on users but also the wider community:

http://theconversation.com/safe-injection-facilities-more-than-just-a-place-to-shoot-drugs-36386

Did anyone watch "drugs live" in the week?
 

sl1k

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Our drugs 'policy' has been a failure in every sense of the word. I find it quite disturbing that in 2015 we're still reading headlines or quotes from our leaders that "the war on drugs has failed". Erm, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/top-adviser-chancellor-george-osborne-5251411 duh?

The criminality that usually comes with the drugs is rooted from addiction. Fortunately for people like Prof Douglas McWilliams, they can afford to support their drug habit thanks to the tax payer. Addiction is a mental and biological disease in my view, no one wakes up one day and thinks "hmmmm, I wanna get hooked on heroin today". Other than the commercial dealing aspects of drugs, it shouldn't be seen as a criminal problem but a health and education problem.
 

SUTSS

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Johann Hari's recent interview on Little Atoms about his new book on the drug war is very insightful. Some very interesting points about the role of environment in addiction and the origins of the war on drugs. Well worth a listen for anyone with an interest in this subject.
 

Dave-Vale

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The UK is so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to drugs policy. Even the USA are miles ahead of us with Cannabis being decriminalised and even legalised in certain states.

There's a good documentary that's just come on Netflix called 'Culture High' which is a good watch.
 
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Bet its been a mad few days in Ireland, imagine if it had been paddys weekend when they became legal bloody hell that would have been messy.
 
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They wouldnt have had to be subtle about it though, i imagine drug use has spiked past fewdays there.
 

Dave-Vale

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The notion that more people take drugs when they are legal is wrong.

The war on drugs tells us differently.
 

SUTSS

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If we look at what has happened in Portugal then we see that soft drug use has gone up (albeit only slightly). Hard drug use has gone down and most importantly deaths from drug use has fallen significantly.
 

Techno Natch

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That increase in "softer drug use" was also consistent with a increase across the EU at the time.
 

Techno Natch

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News today that drug consumption in the UK is higher than elsewhere in Europe is yet more evidence that hard drug laws don't actually reduce use or harm

The government claims that we need a hard line approach to drug use to reduce the number of people taking drugs and to act as a deterrent.

Slowly the rest of Europe seems to be gradually going towards a more liberal approach, while our Government is increasingly heading towards more punitive drug laws. This is despite Cameron himself admitting way back in 2005 that the "War on Drugs" has been a complete failure.

I also read yesterday to that the country in Europe that has the highest use of "Research chemicals" is Ireland, where they have been banned since 2010.........

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn...rugs-capital-of-Europe-reveals-EU-agency.html
 

Techno Natch

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Very early research that but could be interesting, there are lots of claims like this coming out on a regular basis such as the use of ibogaine to help eliminate Heroin addiction. The problem of testing on rats in cages is that you can't recreate the social/physical environment that a human has.

Yeah the Pavlov's dog analogy does make sense, it can be applied to all areas of life though really not just addiction. When I see a pub on a summers day I always get a craving to go in for a drink, I'm not an addict but the association of enjoyment is there for my brain. There are so many ways that someone can be triggered into doing something. That's why CBT can be quite helpful for people suffering addiction.

I doubt there would ever be a miracle pill that can cure addiction, it has to be alongside proper after care and support. What happens when the drug wears off for example?

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Interesting stuff lately -

The Psychoactive Bill in Ireland and Poland, which our government has used as a base for their own policy has actually seen the use of new psychoactive substances rise and drug harm rise alongside it: http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/06/26/how-the-legal-highs-ban-proved-disastrous-in-ireland

Interesting article here from Ex undercover cop Neil Woods on the recent break out of heroin overdoses in Nottingham: http://ukleap.org/better-parked-than-dead/#
 
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Yeah I can appreciate addiction in Humans is a lot more complex, but a promising start! Cant say I've ever seen similar drug trials but sure theres loads, this one only came to my attention through Nature journal on facebook-so guess they're fairly hopeful to have mentioned it in Nature...although some of that is do doubt because te drug is already FDA approved. The physiological side of addiction is curious, the body will naturally work against foreign substances/become unresponsive to then but i cant think of a way of getting round blocking certain ion channels-without getting too deep!haha

Re: Pavlov's dog, id assume the involuntary response is the craving and the 'voluntary' response the taking drugs? To me it seems a lot of our ways of tackling drugs is to stop the voluntary action which obviously still leaves the involuntary cravings, which it doesn't take a braniac to work out isn't great. Hopefully one of these drugs will come through one day to prevent the stem involuntary cravings and by default the 'voluntary' taking of drugs. I appreciate voluntary possibly isn't the best word to use though.

Intriguingly theres apparently a correlation (but no causation proven yet) between addiction and blue eyes...and i used to be so proud of my blue eyes!
 
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[USER]blade1889[/USER]

I was going to use the example of Rat Park in my previous post but I took it out at the last minute. Here's an article on it:

http://elitedaily.com/news/world/scientists-may-discovered-real-cause-addiction/915030/
Intriguing, seems obvious and makes perfect sense but doesn't at the same time. Find an alternative, more interesting and fun way to spend your time as part of hte 'cure'.

When I was away with my mum last week we got onto mental illness, genetics and addiction. My stand point on mental illness (is it right to call addiction a mental illness? I never know the correct terms) was a fine balance of Nature Vs Nurture, studies on identical twins separated at birth show higher probbailities of one twin becoming addicted if the other does than with non-identical twins thus meaning some genetic/biological factors must be involved. I'd have to dig up my old notes from 1st semester that found one gene in mice that caused alchol addiction, obviouly they will also have been kept in poor conditions but so were the mice that didn't become addicted that also didn't have that gene. Having said that the fact that one identical twin develops an addiction does not mean that the other definitely will also, so it would be naive to suggest addiction is solely nature.

I guess, with most things, it will ultimately come down to a treatment that bset suits an individual. There must be some people out there who end up addicted to drugs/alcoholic whose reason is not boredom? But at the same time it's very apparent that some will turn to jobs out of having no job and genuinely very little to do. I know myself I have to fight the temptation to join a gambling site or even just get drunk on my own sometimes through sheer lack of anything to do...Normally end up doing some exercise and that will do me fine fro the time.

The more you post & I read it becomes more obvious that it is just like any other mental illness, a purely biological resolution is not possible but can be helpful. Have worked quite a lot at a residential home for people with learning difficulties, it went through me seeing people given medication to stop them 'acting out' when you'd be far better looking at the casue of the behaviours. There was one individual in particular I could work with completely fine, I could ask him to help with any house chores and he'd do it-because I knew how to work with him but other people would try the same and they'd get a slap and have forms coming out of their ears and the 'service user' would get punished and possibly be given medication.

Do you think support groups can be enough for everyone? I think I'm right in saying you work in this field from our conversation a while back-do you see people that seemingly get more support than others but cannot get clean whereas the others can?

Sorry if theres loads of poor spelling in this, don't know whast gone off with my typing but I keep getting letters the wrong way round, been through a couple of times to try and get rid of them!haha
 

Techno Natch

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I'm a support worker too, I work with Adults with Learning Disability in the community. I worked for a Drugs Project for a couple of years though and currently work at Transform. I'll break your post down as it's easier to respond to.

Intriguing, seems obvious and makes perfect sense but doesn't at the same time. Find an alternative, more interesting and fun way to spend your time as part of hte 'cure'.

When I was away with my mum last week we got onto mental illness, genetics and addiction. My stand point on mental illness (is it right to call addiction a mental illness? I never know the correct terms) was a fine balance of Nature Vs Nurture, studies on identical twins separated at birth show higher probbailities of one twin becoming addicted if the other does than with non-identical twins thus meaning some genetic/biological factors must be involved. I'd have to dig up my old notes from 1st semester that found one gene in mice that caused alchol addiction, obviouly they will also have been kept in poor conditions but so were the mice that didn't become addicted that also didn't have that gene. Having said that the fact that one identical twin develops an addiction does not mean that the other definitely will also, so it would be naive to suggest addiction is solely nature.
Yes, I remember reading reports that suggest there could be a gene that would make it more likely for someone to become addicted to drugs or even any type of behaviour. I think this theory is probably quite likely, but I'm not a scientist or clever enough to say with any conviction that it's true. I think there can be natural and external issues that can cause someone to become reliant on a drugs. The way we experience things and deal with them is unique to ourselves though and faulty genes can only play so much of a part in my opinion.


I guess, with most things, it will ultimately come down to a treatment that bset suits an individual. There must be some people out there who end up addicted to drugs/alcoholic whose reason is not boredom? But at the same time it's very apparent that some will turn to jobs out of having no job and genuinely very little to do. I know myself I have to fight the temptation to join a gambling site or even just get drunk on my own sometimes through sheer lack of anything to do...Normally end up doing some exercise and that will do me fine fro the time.
The bold bit is the most important bit, person centred support and help is vital to any recovery from addiction. Like any illness it can be treated in a number of ways that might work with some people but not with others. I remember Russell Brand doing one of his drug talks on TV and he was banging on saying that everyone should do abstinence treatment, because that's what worked for him. The problem is that just because it worked for him it won't work for everyone and that's why you need plenty of options for these people.

People become addicted to drugs for loads of different reasons. With Heroin as an example it seems common that people are trying to escape pain, either physical or mental. Past traumas or escaping the shit situation they find themselves in. Heroin takes all that pain, anxiety and fear away and holds you in a safe place for a few hours. Then the pain comes back and they want to take Heroin again to dull that pain and the physical withdrawal is absolutely horrific on top of that, it's easy to see how quickly that can slip into big problems. (Loads of people also just enjoy the buzz of Heroin and are taking it purely recreationally.)

Some people just get addicted to the buzz and are constantly chasing it. If you've become addicted to a drug and it's taken over your life, every time you score a next hit it can be a massive buzz, it's like winning a bet I imagine.

The reason why someone use becomes problematic is complicated and unique to that individual I think. One thing that almost everyone has in common is that they haven't set out to get addicted, whether it started off as a bit of fun, to escape problems etc it spirals into problematic use and has a negative impact upon themselves and people around them. It can happen to literally anyone and isn't just limited to drug use but for some reason in the UK we demonise drug users and the drugs themselves but very rarely ask why people are choosing to take drugs in the first place.

The more you post & I read it becomes more obvious that it is just like any other mental illness, a purely biological resolution is not possible but can be helpful. Have worked quite a lot at a residential home for people with learning difficulties, it went through me seeing people given medication to stop them 'acting out' when you'd be far better looking at the casue of the behaviours. There was one individual in particular I could work with completely fine, I could ask him to help with any house chores and he'd do it-because I knew how to work with him but other people would try the same and they'd get a slap and have forms coming out of their ears and the 'service user' would get punished and possibly be given medication.

Do you think support groups can be enough for everyone? I think I'm right in saying you work in this field from our conversation a while back-do you see people that seemingly get more support than others but cannot get clean whereas the others can?

Sorry if theres loads of poor spelling in this, don't know whast gone off with my typing but I keep getting letters the wrong way round, been through a couple of times to try and get rid of them!haha
I find this too, I always say to new staff this is how I do it but you might find your own ways that work. There are things that I can say to one of my service users that if anyone else said it then it wouldn't have the same result, it's also happened for me the other way around and I just have to try a different approach. Sometimes it just doesn't work at all! :lol:

I'd also say it's because you're a good support worker. ;)

I think I answered the last question already but yeah we'd get people that would continually relapse for lots of different reasons and we'd have people drop out and turn up month later flat out again. It's about catching the person at the right time normally and managing to engage them properly. The only way to do that is to support them whatever happens and make it so that the choices are there for them when they feel ready. I was always harm reduction so I would mainly work with people who didn't want to give up yet or couldn't, keeping them safe until they were ready to make changes, I loved doing that to be honest.

Hopefully that all makes sense, I normally discuss harm reduction and policy these days rather than addiction so some of that might be distorted or slightly incorrect. I need to go back and do some training. ;)
 
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Yeah, that makes sense. It's such a hard concept to grasp when it's something you've never experienced yourself, as with any mental illness-I think just trying to understand was the hardest part of the job. I remember one method of getting an SU to have a shower working really well for me, shared it at a staff meeting and it never worked again!

I can imagine that was very frustrating and rewarding at the same time!
 

Techno Natch

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It was a pleasure to attend The Psychedelic Society of Bristol launch last night which was well attended. smile emoticon

There were two very interesting talks from Dr. Ben Sessa and Professor David Nutt who have been leading the research into the potential of using Psilocybin and LSD to help treat Depression and PTSD.

One of the biggest barriers to this research in the UK is that Psilocybin and LSD are schedule one drugs and so are thought to have any medical benefit despite lots of research across the word that suggests otherwise.

This means that it is extremely expensive and hard to study the potential of these substances due to all the red tape that they have to get through just to handle the substance. This problem also exists for MDMA and Cannabis. Diamorphine (Heroin) is schedule 2 and much easier to get hold of because of it's use in pain relief.

I think Ben said "It is the biggest block to psychology and ours patients that has ever existed."

Essentially the fact that these drugs are schedule one blocks potentially very ill patients that would benefit from using these drugs in a controlled setting getting the help that they need.

Which is bizarre because these drugs are relatively safe when used correctly. Apparently it's easier to research brand new drugs where we have absolutely no knowledge of the effects despite the 1000's of years of knowledge we have of Cannabis and Psilocybin.

Despite this the research has been going on and David Nutt talked at length about his past research and the upcoming research on MDMA, Psychedelics and their potential to help treat addiction etc.

There was also the standard why Prohibition isn't working talk and the needless harm that it creates, that drug policy is currently built up on false morals rather than evidence, the way the media report on drug use and deaths compared to other drugs and of course the usual "It's our body and mind so we should be free to explore it in any way we wish" which is also true.

There was so much more but if you're interested then the Link to the UK page, there are divisions all across the country.

https://www.facebook.com/PsychedelicsUK?fref=ts

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Should we allow terminally ill people to take Psychedelics if it helps them deal with their situation?

"A recent study in Switzerland has already looked at the use of LSD for this purpose. After two months, a small number of terminally ill patients given doses of LSD in sessions with a psychiatrist experienced improvements in their anxiety levels – findings which persisted for a year among those who survived."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/p...-terminally-ill-should-take-lsd-10092213.html

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