PuddingPlease There is very solid evidence that drug addiction correlates very strongly with a history of violence, neglect and childhood abuse. If we were able to provide adequate mental health support to everyone who needed it then there might be a better case for passing judgement but in a system where people can be released from hospital after a self harm incident with minimal follow up and no additional provision of service, it seems unfair.
This is exactly right. Nobody sits there as a kid dreaming of becoming a heroin addict. People self-medicate (in increasing levels) with various substances to manage mental illness and the effects of various types of abuse or loss. For some this includes cigarettes, or alcohol, or food (disordered eating), or cutting, some escalate to illicit drugs. (Recreational use of things like ecstasy is often a different story). From the other thread, Michael Coutts-Trotter would seem to be an example: if he was drinking to manage his grief over his father’s death at age 12, who stepped in to help him? What resources were there to stop his self-medication escalating? Given the lack of drug and alcohol services and other mental health resources now, access was likely not good back then.
There’s also the issue of licit drugs. PP says cigarettes are as bad as pot; okay, do we lock up anyone who’s worked at the corner store now? What about alcohol, which despite the lack of standardisation and regulation of say heroin, produces far more harms and is rarely seen as a health problem, but as a “naughty person with no self control” problem (unless you’re in Parliament voting while sozzled I guess)? Are we locking up everyone who’s ever worked at Dan Murphy’s or the IGA round the corner now? Congratulations, the entire continent is once again just one big penal colony.
But say we do get rid of all the heroin. Poof, it’s gone. Now people are ram-raiding pharmacies to get Endone, or ripping off Grandma’s palliative care meds. Say that’s gone - now Grandma’s in horrible pain and there’s still people seeking to self-medicate being ignored by the health system. Take away the alcohol, as per the Volstead Act, and alcohol harms soar, as they did in the 1920s: people brew their own, there’s no standardisation, they accidentally poison themselves with methyl alcohol instead.
At what point do we accept that some people are going to self-medicate, and treat this as the health/mental health issue it actually is?