Re­in­forc­ing ad­dic­tion

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

POVERTY is a ma­jor driver of drug de­pen­dence and ad­dic­tion. It is linked to poor self-es­teem likely re­sult­ing from poor ed­u­ca­tion achieve­ment lead­ing to low pay­ing jobs. It is a so­ci­etal prob­lem. Just as the wealthy and suc­cess­ful are clus­tered in par­tic­u­lar lo­cal­i­ties, so are the dis­ad­van­taged clus­tered in ghetto-like lo­ca­tions. Post­codes where ed­u­ca­tion out­comes are poor, where men­tal health is poor, where rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem is high, drug de­pen­dence is high and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is preva­lent. In so­cio-lib­eral Aus­tralia, safety nets pro­vide so­cial sup­port for peo­ple at risk which many lib­eral regimes see as pa­ter­nal­is­tic; drug laws can be seen as ex­tremely pa­ter­nal­is­tic. But the com­mu­nity has been con­di­tioned to fear il­licit drugs and sup­ports the co­er­cive pro­cesses of crim­i­nal law against il­licit drug use. Poverty, a sense of fail­ure, low self-es­teem and dis­ad­van­tage can be ame­lio­rated, at least briefly, by us­ing psy­cho-ac­tive drugs. How­ever per­sis­tent need to ap­pease de­pen­dence and ad­dic­tion trumps other pri­or­i­ties, re­in­forces the con­vic­tion of hope­less fail­ure and fur­ther pain and iso­la­tion im­posed by drug pol­icy re­in­forces ad­dic­tion. A rad­i­cally new ap­proach to the drug prob­lem like the ap­proach in Por­tu­gal, Spain, Switzer­land and Ger­many is needed in Aus­tralia to con­trol drug abuse in­clud­ing al­co­hol, by le­gal­i­sa­tion, man­u­fac­ture con­trols, pu­rity, dose speci­ficity, sup­ply and ed­u­ca­tion. Pro­hi­bi­tion is the great­est en­emy to drug use, de­pen­dence and ad­dic­tion

preven­tion. Di­eter Moeckel Won­bah

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