What’s so bad about life that so many want to self-med­i­cate?

Paul Mur­ray won­ders why 12pc of Aussies are driven to booze and drugs

Mercury (Hobart) - - FOOTY FEVER -

WE all know too many peo­ple take drugs, but why do they?

We got a snap­shot this week of how many Aus­tralians use and abuse drugs.

The sur­vey by the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Health and Wel­fare asked 24,000 peo­ple about their habits and it makes for some scary read­ing.

Twelve per cent ad­mit to us­ing drugs in the past year.

Cannabis, co­caine and ec­stasy were the most pop­u­lar.

More than a quar­ter (27 per cent) of drug users con­fessed they were also be­ing treated for a men­tal ill­ness.

In 2013, it was just over a fifth (21 per cent).

The le­gal drugs of booze and tobacco are the most preva­lent in our so­ci­ety, with a quar­ter of peo­ple smok­ing and eight out of ten drink­ing.

We also learnt 5 per cent of peo­ple mis­use pre­scrip­tion drugs.

In fair­ness, I should own up to what I do — I smoke, do not drink and have not taken il­le­gal drugs.

But the ques­tion worth ask­ing is why do so many self­med­i­cate with le­gal and il­le­gal drugs? What is it about real life that peo­ple are try­ing to es­cape and how do so many peo­ple fail to un­der­stand that drug use makes men­tal ill­ness worse?

So of­ten we turn a blind eye to why peo­ple use drugs rather than just fo­cus­ing on the fact they do.

I am not one for le­gal­is­ing this stuff, but I do think “why” is just as im­por­tant as the “what” and “where” when it comes to drugs. Find some­one bet­ter to sing at the grand fi­nal.

I could not care less about the same-sex an­them Mack­le­more plans to sing at the NRL grand fi­nal to­mor­row. But I do won­der why they booked this guy in the first place?

Again, this is not be­cause of the song he’s go­ing to sing, but the things he’s said and done in the past. He’s a 9/11 truther. In 2009 he tweeted: “911 … Bush knocked down the tow­ers.”

In 2014 he dressed as a Jewish stereo­type while singing about sav­ing money. Classy guy.

I might be a bit old school, but can’t we save a grand fi­nal stage for Aussie acts and not clowns like this?

The prob­lem gam­bler num­bers no one wants to talk about.

San­ity pre­vailed in Tas­ma­nia this week. Poker ma­chines in pubs and clubs are not go­ing to be banned. The story went na­tional when the ABC ran a story based on a poll of 1 per cent of vot­ers in the Pre­mier’s district that made big claims about how many peo­ple wanted them pulled back.

But a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee has rec­om­mended that while there should be fewer ma­chines, the pub and club ban was a bridge too far.

The truth is many venues would close, sack staff and in­crease the cost of meals if the ma­chines were gone.

While prob­lem gam­bling ex­ists, the num­bers do not back up some of the big claims.

Angli­care says there are 2000 prob­lem gam­blers in Tas­ma­nia, but when you think the state has 515,000 peo­ple, that’s 0.38 per cent of all Tasmanians with a prob­lem.

I want those peo­ple to get help. But I also want the vast ma­jor­ity of play­ers to de­cide where and when they play.

Even when they lose. Join­ing Paul on Mon­day are Ross Cameron, Ja­nine Per­rett, Dan Gin­nane and Neil Breen.

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