"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

de Quincey's birthday, Opiates, Dalrymple and pointless drug "treatment"

"It is so long since I first took opium, that if it had been a trifling incident in my life, I might have forgotten its date: but cardinal events are not to be forgotten; and from circumstances connected with it, I remember that it must be referred to the autumn of 1804. During that season I was in London, having come thither for the first time since my entrance at college."

Thomas de Quincy, English author born on August 15, 1785; - opening lines of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy by Theodore Dalrymple Amazon

Well known and respected doctor and writer Theodore Dalrymple argues that drug addiction isn't what it has been made out to be. He claims that addiction has been romanticized along with the withdrawal from such drugs as heroin.

Dalrymple use of his own background as a practicing physician and of literature as well. For example, one of the classics of drug addiction is Nelson Algren's "The Man with the Golden Arm." Along with this and the books of Coleridge, Burroughs and de Quncey's "Confessions" others which make much of withdrawl. Dalrymple defies this romanticism and says it isn't true. It may be romantic to think of addicts suffering terribly when forced to withdraw, but according to Dalrymple - and he provides medical literature to support the point - withdrawal is about as bad as a case of the flu.

He has extensive experience, including working as a prison doctor and takes the view after a lifetime of face to face experience that the bottom-line is that drug takers enjoy their drugs, an entire support industry has grown up around drug addiction and a lot of people are lining their pockets at the expense of the taxpayer.

It was reported in June that nationally, the Prison Service paid £2.5 million in compensation to prisoners in England and Wales, and of that £750,000 was to drug addicts.

Almost half of the £2.5 million was paid out to prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs, London, and Northallerton Young Offenders’ Institution, in North Yorkshire.

According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act,in 2006, 9 payments totalling £34,264 were made to heroin addicts whose treatment was withdrawn or cut short whilst jailed in Manchester Prison, formerly known as Strangeways.

In Rochdale (for example) there is a Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) which claims there are 1,500/1,800 problematic drug users (PDU's) which is princially heroin users but increasingly crack cocaine .70% are male and white and 70% of those are in treatment for 12 weeks or more. In the last year for which figures are available - 2005/6 the total costs of the program was £3.1 Mn.

For a population of 50 Mn that totals an expenditure of £600-700 Mn.annually, not including the cost of the drugs prescribed, benefits payments etc.,

In 2003/4 1329 users were "treated" which was said to represent 74% of PDU's and in 2007/8 it is expected that 1663 users will be "treated" which will represent 92% of PDU's and a growth of people being treated of 25% which suggests treatment is not successful - unless measured by the number of people engaged in "treating the addicts or the money spent in treating them.


Stef said...

As Marx didn't say...

Opium is the opium of the people

Still, look on the positive side, it keeps them off the streets

Anonymous said...

Rat Park ...

The Antagonist said...

And, if you've ever wondered why a Monarchy demands undying loyalty (addiction, if you prefer) to the CROWN....

Crown jewels indeed.

Shutter said...

Thanks for link to Rat Park ... new to us.

Incidentally Felix Dennis was on Desert Island Discs this week and was, apparently, addicte to crack cocaine. He claims he just stopped - cold turkey - which seems to be contrary to all received wisdom.

Stef said...

there's a priceless line near the end of the Rat Park wikipedia article...

Alexander was disappointed by the reception, and still speaks of the experiments enthusiastically. "We talked about it all the time, over dinner, on weekends. My kids came up and met the rats, did some data collection. It was of course tremendously exciting to see all the commonly held notions about addiction so challenged by the rats. I've had only one good idea in my life and that was it. But one good idea, who can complain about that?

Anonymous said...

Hi Stef, My Lord Patel

I posted the rat park link on the magistrates blog (blog not worth visiting), he also brought up the Dalrymple article.

I also said that there was a chemist at one of the Universities in London, in the 1960s. He didn't believe that heroin was addictive, so he bought some, injected himself daily for a month or so, then stopped. No addiction whatsoever. One of his personal experiments that he only reported verbally and then to confidantes. Also, this work (work?) preceded rat park.

The rat park experiment is interesting - make people's lives crap and they seek comfort in drugs, err, bears 'n' woods; blind man on a galloping horse etc etc

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish