Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Who would want to be a drug user in 2007? Not me!

May 18 2009
Bureaucratic drugs workers have become the arm of the state While the government howls about how 'treatment works', humanity gets lost in the bureaucracy of it all. And drugs workers, for the most part, have become robots whose only concerns are to maintain the status quo without questioning it. As long as they tick their boxes, reach their outcomes and targets, and deliver shiny statistics, they are happy. They are not questioning the legitimacy of their work. We are now in the era of the bureaucratic drugs workers; they have become the arm of the state. The forms they have to fill in with clients are as long-winded as War and Peace, so they are filling them without really assessing anyone. They don't have time to do any real work with their clients. The drugs treatment industry is rolling over workers and clients alike. Also, the only way the majority of people have can access to a legitimate supply of Class 'A' drugs is by being criminalised, pathologised or medicalised. With a grand stroke of irony, for you to access these legitimate drugs quickly, you have to be involved in some criminal activity or other, and using illicit drugs in the first place (my head spins). The route to treatment starts with getting yourself arrested for shoplifting or burglary or suchlike. You are then tested for Class 'A' drugs, and, if found positive, you are then theoretically fast-tracked/ signposted towards treatment. In the first instance, treatment usually equals a prescription for methadone. That's not what you (the now client) wanted, because this heroin substitute is a very boring drug indeed and not the real McCoy. Most people I know use illicit drugs and alcohol alongside methadone just to "liven it up." So now you are the 'user,' or the 'criminal justice patient,' and you are in the medical criminal model of dealing with drug use. You are in the world of the ASBO, the CARAT (Counselling, Advice, Referral, Assessment and Throughcare), the test on arrest, Tier One to Four services, etcetera. You will learn to comply! We can now urine test you, take your blood, assess you, make you attend groups. You will be taught how to inject safely, and we will give you syringes and sin bins. And if you're really good, we will send you to rehab. As Amy Winehouse sings, "No, no, no." But, alas, we will not give you the drugs that you so crave, i.e. good-quality uncut heroin, cocaine and various other quality products that we control, that can get you stoned. You might also get access to treatment through the medical only route by becoming a patient. However, this takes longer because under current thinking, if you're not committing an acquisitive or violent crime you are not perceived as having a drug problem in the same way as people who are. I digress. You may only want to do bit of gear, the occasional drink, smoke some puff and use E at the weekend, but that's all over now, so what are you going to do? There doesn't seem to be much choice. You're caught up in a different machine now. What is also not readily apparent to the entry-level drug worker is that this is not about problematic drug use per se. It's about government pushing their undemocratic prohibitionist agenda no matter what the cost, or the end result.