If we were to remove speed limits form our roads, would we drive more safely?
If we had a zero tolerance to drink driving, would we never take the risk?
Taking risks gives life a ‘spark’, however in a society that values the welfare of our fellow humans, we need to have restrictions on what risks are acceptable. Many people drink, smoke and use drugs 'safely' and with limited ill effects.
I have worked with many people who have been addicted to and dependent on alcohol and drugs, it is easy to see the effects of such an addiction on them and their families. It is clear, to me at least, that the current Harm reduction agenda within the NHS and treatment services – dictated by the government – is having little effect on people’s behaviour; this strategy only reaches those that come in to contact with treatment services of one type or another.
The problem with the two questions posed above is that they are also harm reduction strategies, which however effective they maybe only really have a limited effect on some people who believe it is worth the risk. These restrictions only work for the rest of us because they are backed up by law and failure to abide can have serious consequences for the perpetrator and beyond. So therefore, guidelines such as those for the level of daily alcohol consumption become arbitrary and meaningless, try calculating your units after a couple of glasses of ‘Blue Nun’.
Life is difficult for many people and in many different ways, drinking alcohol, smoking and using drugs has been a coping mechanism for many years, a phrase from Pink Floyd “comfortably numb” springs to mind here, as humans we would seek comforts rather than hardships. However, for some there is a price to pay for this weakness.
If we woke up tomorrow morning and found that all the illegal drugs were missing and we had forgotten how to make them, I would bet that the supermarket drink isles would be empty, the public houses busy and the GP surgeries overrun. Furthermore, if all mind altering substances were missing the price of condoms would rocket!
The ‘War on Drugs’ is about as useful as trying to drink soup with a fork! The answer is much more difficult to mobilise, as a race we need to accept that ‘modern society’ project has failed to deliver a manageable and sustainable society. We need to rethink our social care policies that seem to enable people to fail at life and when they are there keep them or trap them there. Our culture has provided us with a society addicted to the failings of others. TV programs and the newspapers are dedicated to our failings. We are kept under the constant threat of “evil” and 24hr 365 day surveillance by our caring and loving government. We have slowly had our liberties eroded and abolished by the ‘Liberal’ Elite, was Orwell writing fiction or predicting the future? What’s next private Police forces? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17242956
Over the last 5 years I have been to several local and national conferences on these topics and the one thing that I have learnt is that there is lots of talk but little action, except short term solutions and headline grabbing initiatives that soon fall by the wayside.