Focus on Addiction

There’s been a couple of shows on TV this week about the nature of addiction.

One was the “Diary of a Heroin Addict” on ABC2 on Wednesday, which was the remarkable insight into the personal journey of a heroin addict who lived at home with his family.

Usually, like most people I guess, I’ve been quite dismissive about hard drug users, more or less thinking that they’ve got themselves into their own situation, so they’re responsible for that.

Well this documentary has changed my outlook completely.

To witness “Ben” in his early thirties cry out in sheer desperation that he hated his addiction while injecting himself, and then passing out was truly gut-wrenching, not to mention his efforts to get clean only to relapse again.

The entire helplessness of his, and his family’s situation, the love they have for each other despite his addiction was truly eye-opening.

For those who haven’t seen it, it is definitely worth seeing if it screens again. And it has completely changed my previously somewhat stereotypical views of the nature of addiction and the addicts themselves, particularly those who find themselves in the grip of addiction to hard core drugs.

This is the extract from ABC2:

Ben Rogers was a bright schoolboy from a loving, middle class family. He played in the orchestra, loved cricket and enjoyed the annual family holiday. But his future promise was halted when he started taking drugs in his teens. Early drinking led to cannabis, harder drugs, and then the revelation to his family, at the age of 21, that he was addicted to heroin.

Over the next 13 years Ben and his family battled with his addiction, going through detox, rehab and attempts at ‘cold turkey’, but his health gradually declined. Whilst attempting another detox aged 34, he died from a brain haemorrhage.

But during the last two years of his life, Ben filmed an unflinching video diary showing his final desperate attempts to come off heroin. It’s a portrayal of his descent; intimate, raw, and at times difficult to watch, he talks to his glove puppet as he injects into a vein in his groin.

It is also a very intimate portrait of a family battling to save their son. He tells the camera: “I hope that when you look at this afterwards that you don’t think I’m self-pitying because I know that I’ve done this to myself.” Yet we see the impact on his mother in her sheer frustration, anger and tears, as Ben fluctuates between searing honesty and manipulating deception.

Days before his death, Ben weeps into the camera that he knows he is losing his battle, and begs those watching the footage to use it to show how powerful and deadly the drug can be. His mother is now determined to warn teenagers of the effects of drugs.

More info here:

And after doing some google searches, I “think” the documentary can be downloaded here

As news reports are coming that Sydney is experiencing a dramatic surge in cocaine use, and the fact that overwhelming majority of crime in Australia is drug-related, it is perhaps timely to open this topic up for discussion..

Ice addiction

Much has been written about “Crystal Meth(amphetamine)” also known as Tina, Crank, Shabu, Ice and Glass.

Although crystal meth has been around since World War II (it has been documented the Adolf Hitler injected the drug daily), its emergence in mainstream society has only become prevalent in the last 25 years.

Meth use has exploded worldwide in the last decade. In the US, meth use has spiraled out if control and is now the fastest-growing drug abuse problem.

In Australia, there are over 73,000 ice addicts*. Former NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said “I don’t know in the time I’ve been a Policeman, which is 41 years, of a greater scourge on the community. The physical and mental manifestations of ice are absolutely horrific. It has the potential to destroy generations.”

Is Ice just another drug?

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