To REALLY help drug addicts

Written By: - Date published: 2:12 pm, September 7th, 2017 - 36 comments
Categories: accountability, benefits, Propaganda, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

First an anecdote. Last week a friend’s 28 year old son stole her credit card and ran up a few thousand on it. The same young man who in the middle of August approached a mental health service saying he wants and needs help with his drug addiction. He was told he would be assessed on 25 September. Anyone else see the potential problem with this?

He received a text about the dead body found in the Waimakariri last weekend. He told my friend, before it made the news that the guy was shot in the head. He is scared this will be him. He is wanted for skipping bail. He returned to Court on Tuesday and has been bailed to his parents house. They are frightened of him. Two nights ago he held his mother against a wall by her throat. Did imention he sought help?

IF he has no drugs in the house, he will go into withdrawal. Then what? His parents work so he is home alone, so he can presumably get drugs and let anyone into the house during the day. Then what? He has told his parents the only other option he sees from drugs is suicide.

He sought help of his own volition and was told he could be assessed in 6 weeks time. Since being told that, he has stolen over $15,000 from his parents and discovered an “associate” has been murdered.

Please listen to this interview, with someone who knows, about the 50,000 drug addicts who currently want help but cannot get it. The Government yesterday with a strange election promise, proposed adding to this number with NO detail on the structures needed to do it. Labour is also scant on detail around this issue.

Green Party (much more specific)

Maori Party (summary – then more detail here)

Mana Party (detail )

This government will know that 50,000 people already want help with drug addiction but cannot get it. They have had 9 years to give a shit. This is a health issue, first and foremost, and a mental health issue.

Interview here

 

 

 

 

36 comments on “To REALLY help drug addicts”

  1. Antoine 1

    Would love to see some improvement in drug rehabilitation services (along with mental health services)

    Something to hope for

    A,

    • tracey 1.1

      Drug addiction and Mental health are inextricably linked.

      You have a few voting options if this is a priority. OR if you want national or labour start asking for it now while they are in “buy a vote” mood.

      • Karen 1.1.1

        This is unfair Tracey. Labour will be spending an extra $8 billion on health and there will be a review of mental health and addiction services in their first 100 days. As far as mental health services go some specific policies have already been announced. This policy was announced quite some time ago.

        http://www.labour.org.nz/health

        Also- I have worked in both alcohol and drug addiction clinics and I disagree that mental health and addiction services are inextricably linked.

        • tracey 1.1.1.1

          I have also worked in them so there you go.

          It is very clear to anyone who wants to help drug addicts what needs to be done. A 100 day review might be a good idea but it hasn’t stopped other parties from being very specific about what they will do.

          If you are right that mental health and drug addiction are not inextricably linked, then Labour’s health policy only points to a review. Nothing more specific than that for dealing with Drug Addiction.

          • Barfly 1.1.1.1.1

            Karen “dual diagnosis” mental health problems and alcoholism aren’t that uncommon. They are also often not wanted by those providing mental health services as they are harder to treat. I know this from personal experience.

  2. Zeroque 2

    The cause of these delays is demand and supply. There aren’t enough people on the ground to deal with a growing demand because of the funding shortfalls. I work with workers in the mental health and addictions services of DHBs and they regularly tell me that they literally do not have the capacity to take on higher caseloads. It’s only when it becomes a crisis for the drug user or when a court orders someone to a forensic ward that reasonably rapid interventions occur. Sadly for some with drug problems the intervention is far too late. Workers really dislike knowing that had they had capacity to treat these people at an earlier that they would quite likely had far better outcomes.

    • tracey 2.1

      And it is not for want of people graduating into this sector (youth workers, social workers, etc). Pay is also appalling in these occupations. Most agencies are DPB or MSD funded. This means that KPIs and other targets are fixed from on high. This sets a culture and the ability to meet client needs. It has also created a “jobsworth: attitude amongst many managers putting self preservation and funding preservation ahead of ethics and client needs.

  3. I don’t understand – are you saying drug addicts have mental health issues rather than say, health issues?

    • Antoine 3.1

      No, it’s just another example of things that would be good to see

    • tracey 3.2

      I am saying that drug and mental issues are both health issues. 80% of allocated funding for drug addiction goes to Police, prisons and justice.

      Karen and I disagree, from our experiences that there is overlap between drug addiction and mental health issues. Many people with mental health issues self medicate.

      • marty mars 3.2.1

        I work in mental health and I agree with Karen that the two aren’t inexorably linked – which is different to what you just said re overlap.

        Adequate funding is desperately needed – as you have indicated the lack of funding results in misery, pain, suffering, and sometimes death. We just do what we can with what we have and that is all a can do at the coalface.

      • Karen 3.2.2

        “Many people with mental health issues self medicate”.

        I agree with this, I just don’t agree that all those with addiction problems are also mentally ill.

        I also think drug addiction is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue, and that there needs to be a major investment in a variety of drug treatment facilities. I say a variety because different addicts respond to different kinds of treatment. That is why I am happy to see some more investigation into alternative options/

        • tracey 3.2.2.1

          Poor choice of word, and I apologise. I meant that dealing with one often means you are dealing with the other. So a system failing people with mental health issues will also fail many with drug addictions and vice versa.

          I had meant to allude to this kind of data
          https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/comorbidity-addiction-other-mental-illnesses/why-do-drug-use-disorders-often-co-occur-other-men

          I still think a review is a cop out of sorts. There is so much evidence based research out there already and plenty of people on the ground who have made submission after submission on how to meet needs.

          Absolutely agree that different people respond to different treatments.

          100 days to review will mean more deaths and prolonged suffering. This is time when the Ministry can actually begin recuruiting and begin to tender for facilities etc. This needed to be thought out while in Opposition to hit the ground running on a couple of issues which are so crucial to our country’s well-being. other have managed to do so.

      • JustPassingThrough 3.2.3

        At least 80% of recreational drug users don’t have a problem. As long as we’re unnecessarily sending those people through the justice system it’s a justice issue and not a health issue. Once drugs are decriminalised then it becomes a health issue. Plus the money saved can go toward addiction treatment.

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    If the Gnats wanted credibility for being tough on drugs they’d’ve gone after P at the source. Has to be a border control issue – it isn’t home grown.

    What they actually want to do is silence the critics – honest citizens whose lives have been ruined by neo-liberalism. The Gnats want these people to die quietly instead of taking arms against the sea of troubles Gnat failures created.

    • tracey 4.1

      Genuinely acting to lift people out of poverty, and not just into minimum wage jobs would be a great start to a fence at the top of the cliff.

      • Stuart Munro 4.1.1

        Quite – but doing any of those things might interfere with National’s enthusiastic plundering of the state. We got here by design, not by mistake or mischance – and the Gnats are no longer entitled to the political immunity traditional to democracy because lying one’s ass off does not constitute a good faith effort to act in the public interest.

        • tracey 4.1.1.1

          Sure but my other criticism is that after 9 years in opposition labour wants a review. it hasn’t come up with a comprehensive plan while in Opposition?

          • Stuart Munro 4.1.1.1.1

            They’re not sure the public will support the ditching of neoliberalism. They hope they can build their way out of it. I think they have an inkling of how dysfunctional housing has become – it’s rapidly impoverishing even the middle classes now. I’m not sure the intervention they have in mind will suffice – though that’s not critical so long as they are prepared to do more as it is shown to be necessary.

            But you’re right – they hadn’t made a plan because they meant to second guess the public in poll-driven Blairite style. They seem to be shifting – but will not be apologizing to those who suffer during their glacially slow return to humanist values from market ones.

    • tc 4.2

      Also decriminalised lower level drugs allows more resources to be thrown at the P conundrum and removed the criminal elements ability to profit from lower level drugs.

      Plenty of overseas examples and even senior narcs officers have told the upper echelons of police similar, forget the green go all out on the meth.

  5. Shona 5

    I keep having this conversation repeatedly about the monster that is the “P” epidemic. I have returned to the Far North to retire. Kaitaia is a disaster because of P and other Northland towns have experienced the same fate over the last 15 years. There is no help. There are no training programs for youth what jobs there are are invariably temporary even if some are well paid. The P comes in top of existing drug problems first and foremost alcohol abuse. Secondly cannabis abuse. Illegal cannabis has much higher THC level than is necessary for a pleasant stone. we need to legalize cannabis now so people can grow their own and grow high CBD strains.We need alcohol treatment centres everywhere.
    500 kg of PURE METH was found on ninety mile beach last year. This is the taste of what is to come because our law enforcement is woeful. We need people from outside the police force solving this problem There have been two similar sized busts in Aussie this year. 900kg in Melbourne and 700kg in Sydney. All of these imports were organised by Chinese National’s. The scale of the problem is not comprehended by our police force( who are grossly underesourced and spend their time poking their noses into the business of small fry thru the search and surveillance act) or rather those who do either don’t care or despair. This drug is wrecking our society and destroying our youth. I have come to agree with Hone Harawira that we need to execute major drug importers to stop the epidemic.

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    I really don’t understand how anyone can say an addiction is not a mental health issue, but whatever. It’s a distraction from the main point.

    • tc 6.1

      Some drugs do create a physical dependancy, its not that simple IMO.

    • David Mac 6.2

      I agree, it’s part of the human condition, we’re useless at moderation. Creatures of habit. Our tendency to become addicted extends way beyond drugs, tobacco and booze. The obese person that can’t keep out of the fridge is addicted, as is the person that puts all of their life outcomes down to a God or the exploiter obsessed with stacking money.

      We all have our vices, none of us in a position to cast stones.

    • JustPassingThrough 6.3

      The key to understanding addiction is that addicts are addicted to the dopamine hit. So in terms of the addiction itself, it really doesn’t matter what the drug is. There’s no real difference between someone being addicted to gambling and someone being addicted to heroin.

      “What?” you’re asking. How can I say there’s no difference between being hooked on the pokies and shooting heroin? Well there is kind of a difference. Drugs which are more addictive cause the brain to produce more dopamine than drugs (or other activities) that cause the brain to produce less dopamine. But it’s all to do with dopamine. In other words someone who does meth does it for exactly the same reason as someone who compulsively bets on the horses.

      The other point to remember is that addiction is also less to do with the drug and more to do with the individual. It’s actually thought that some people carry an “addiction” gene.

      The addiction rate for illicit drugs is around 15 to 20%. This means that around 80% of people can shoot up, smoke weed, take a hit of meth etc without getting hooked.

      It’s the other 20% that can’t.

      So the moral question is do you ban illicit drugs to protect the 20% while depriving the other 80% the choice to have a toke or do you allow illicit drugs and bear the cost of the 20% who will become addicts?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3.1

        That’s a no-brainer, because treating mental health issues as crimes delivers far and away the worst consequences of all.

  7. UncookedSelachimorpha 7

    The Gnat lie that drug addiction is primarily a moral / character failing – has been thoroughly discredited and is a major barrier to effective treatment. And yet these ignorant arsehats keep trotting out this populist rubbish. A shameful abdication of leadership and morality.

    Worse – the Gnat punitive / punishing approach simply doesn’t work.

    Promoting disproven lies and strategies that don’t work = “Delivering for New Zealand”?

    • tracey 7.1

      If they believe that, then drug testing will be mandatory in ALL workplaces, and especially in the homes of the well-to-do white folks whose children like to take all kinds of illegal substances and i speak not of cannabis.

  8. tracey 8

    I sometimes wonder if the GFC might have been averted were drug taking not so rife in the finance and trading industries. 😉

  9. eco Maori/kiwi 9

    National under fund our health systems and then lie there asses off trying to cling to power.
    Coleman looked nervous while he was lying on news hub he knows he is going to be warming the opposition seats

    One of my elderly clients had to wait 4 years for a hip replacement and because she had to wait so long her other hip is fucked.
    While she was waiting for her hip replacement she put more pressure on her good hip and now she needs that hip replaced she is in pain I can see it on her face
    These Muppet’s National don’t get it that there way of running our Health is causing people to suffer and die . It will take Labour years and billions to fix up this mess.
    Its not rocket science how one runs a Health system you can not under fund a Health system as it will bite you on the ass eg long waiting list are stupid by the time our people are treated they have more problems.
    Any half wit knows treat Health ailments immediately or your patients will develop other ailments which WILL COST MORE TO TREAT AND CURE.
    I would not let these people manage a farm for me let alone a government man I can’t wait till this elections over because it pisses me off seeing these people on TV lying there asses off to us.

  10. eco Maori/kiwi 10

    national have cut budgets in most of our government departments and they don’t get it
    Every action has a equal and opposite reaction so one can not pull money out of a government organisation and expect no bad consequences.
    The numb nuts.

  11. Don't worry. Be happy 11

    How many people are on methadone in this country?

    And what is their mental health like?

    Their physical health? Pretty rubbish.

    And where is the plan to ever get them off this horrible horrible drug? Even reduce by a tiny fraction of a ml a week until the addict is weaned off even if it takes years….No where to be found.

    As I see it there is a huge industry set up to run this drug business….counsellors, case managers, psychologists, psychiatrists, chemists and GPs. There is an urgent desperate need for dentists by the way but they have always remained outside of the caring professions with the exception of one or two.

    It is all ostensibly about ” harm minimisation” and yes, I agree free synthetic opioids supplied by the govt remove the extreme risks associated with financing addiction through crime or prostitution but the drug still leaches away the addicts life, on the nod, in agony as teeth rot away, the depression and self loathing, being tied to the programme to get meds, the liquid handcuffs…..there is still plenty of harm!

    IMO this is a scandal esp when it seems increasingly likely that cannabis may be a gateway drug off methadone….but what happens if pot is detected in a methadone patient? Kicked out of the programme. Back to crime or prostitution to feed the addiction.

    I may have this all wrong. My experience, watching and supporting a family member, traumatising, intense and bitterly disappointing as it has been, may be too narrow a focus. But it has been many years now, years they can never get back and the overalk direction is steadily downwards. And hope is very hard to find.

  12. adam 12

    Thanks Tracey, needed said. It is not working, it’s been over 40 years and the violent/judicial approach to dealing with drugs has failed. We need to grow up, and start treating drugs as a health issue.

    I’m not a fan of the 100 day review, becasue we already have the information. But if somthing changes, then good, as we can’t keep going down this road of a failed drug policy.

  13. Steve 13

    Quote “This government will know that 50,000 people already want help with drug addiction but cannot get it. They have had 9 years to give a shit. This is a health issue, first and foremost, and a mental health issue.”

    I feel forced to at least consider this question (for interest sake).Why would this national government choose to help fix this problem too fast ?. If by “not doing so”, perhaps that may also help progress the police drive to want to “need” to have more gun toting police?

    I understand i might be wrong about this.Even so this thought has still crossed my mind.

    Why do we see TV adds depicting dope smoking drivers who act like total git’s and seem to lose control of their vehicle, almost as if this phenomena must be something that is actually a common occurrence that many of us (all)should be constantly seeing ourselves as well too?. But yet i don’t feel like iv’e “often” seen any evidence of dope smokers acting in this kind of manner on our streets.In fact iv’e never ever even seen any real evidence of this myself

    Is it propaganda ?. Is it propaganda of the kind that a number of people might be inclined to easily swallow hook line and sinker ?. Perhaps mainly because they really would hope its true?. Perhaps that way their biased view might also seem more likely to be fact based

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