DDN October 2020 ‘We have a unique role in breaking county lines’ - Page 17

COMMENT

They said what ..?

Spotlight on the national media
THERE REMAINS CONSIDERABLE STIGMA AROUND DRUG USE , which largely falls into two strands . There ’ s snobbish ( and often racist ) moralising , where people who use drugs are looked down upon as ‘ junkies ’, feckless and irresponsible people to whom we owe no sympathy . There ’ s also a ‘ punching up ’ version , which posits recreational drug use as a metropolitan decadence for hedgefund managers , students at Bristol University and Michael Gove … But the problem here is the law itself and how it ’ s applied , rather than any one demographic fuelling demand ... Lambasting privileged people who use drugs plays into the same discourse that justifies criminalisation . James Grieg , Guardian , 5 September
‘ Lambasting privileged people who use drugs plays into the same discourse that justifies criminalisation .’
THERE IS GREAT CONCERN that what little is left of public health will now be further weakened and marginalised . This fate would be very much in keeping with this government ’ s philosophy that sees individual behaviour as being the source of health problems and believes that the role of the state should be limited to providing information to the public and then leaving them to make their own choices . This completely ignores the fact that major public health problems such as alcohol and substance misuse , sexual health , obesity , and smoking are societal issues where political and policy decision-making dictates , to a very large extent , the degree to which the health of the whole population is damaged or improved . There is no doubt that it is the government ’ s behaviour that needs to change , otherwise all we will experience is serial bouts of victim-blaming where individuals are held responsible for their own ill-health . Gabriel Scally , Guardian , 9 September
WHILE THE STIGMA AROUND MENTAL HEALTH disorders is thankfully waning , the same cannot be said for people with an alcohol use disorder . The question of ‘ fault ’ looms strongly over individuals . People with an addiction are made to feel ashamed and treated as if they simply can ’ t be bothered to stop . Current attitudes mean that pledging to improve their services is not a vote winner and those struggling to cope are forgotten . Julia Sinclair , Independent , 16 September
COUNTY LINES OPERATIONS exploit young and vulnerable teenagers to act as drug couriers by drug gangs , meaning they take the greatest risks as they are the most visible part of the supply and distribution chain of illicit drugs . In any other setting this abuse of young children would attract the attention and support of the state via social services , who would intervene to ensure they were removed from this activity and adequately protected . But this is about illegal drugs where the state response has a history of illogical action based on ideology not caring pragmatism . Ian Hamilton , Independent , 26 September
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WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM OCTOBER 2020 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 17