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Half of drug users mentally ill?

By johnboy - 10 September 2006 132

The Canberra Times’ Victor Violante (does the CT prefer journos with alliterative names?) has the unsurprising news that half of people seeking treatment for drug addiction are suffering from mental illness.

Which raises the timeless question of the alcoholic: Did I start drinking because I was miserable or did I become miserable because of the drinking?

What’s Your opinion?

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132 Responses to
Half of drug users mentally ill?
vg 6:17 pm 11 Sep 06

Just another excuse

Tempestas 10:52 am 11 Sep 06

Any drug used appropriately for the relevant reason is fairly safe in the risk value sense. However some drugs are easier to abuse than others. Abuse of any drug, even aspirin or parecetamol can be dangerous or fatal.

Now some people who are mentally ill (whatever we take that to mean) take drugs (legal and otherwise)as a form of “self-medication” This leads to what the medico’s see as Dual-diagnosis. For some interesting thoughts on this topic look up Alex Wodak from St Vincents.

I think we need to look at how social stigma against being mentally ill and against being a drug user gets combined and makes such people very difficult to treat, especially as one tends to excerbate the other.

There are people out there who really need help, victimising them because of one aspect of their illnesses is hardly helpful.

AD – the broader or big picture issue is easier said as “what is it about our culture or society that seems to encourage some people to pursue a altered reality – given that the means of altering can be potentially desctructive or fatal?”

Special G 9:45 am 11 Sep 06

AD – “It’s more to the point that life has been rendered pointless as a result of misused conciousness… there is not much to be happy about… and the only things worth being happy about are accentuated on drugs…”

If you send me your phone number and name I can refer you on to some councelling services if you would like.

Thumper 9:19 am 11 Sep 06

I agree with a few of your points, especially the way society fucks people around. But that is not an excuse.

Just because someone is giving you a hard time it doesn’t mean you simply do the Timothy Leary and drop out.

And alcohol, again, I agree.

Absent Diane 9:12 am 11 Sep 06

its deeper than that. It’s more to the point that life has been rendered pointless as a result of misused conciousness… there is not much to be happy about… and the only things worth being happy about are accentuated on drugs…

why do we work. why do we have all these belief systems. I question it because I am stuck in this system that apparently is good because I contribute something society. Unfortunately Society contributes fuck all to the people who are a part of it. I don’t agree with those who lie around fucked all day and then go out and commit crime…. but they are living are very instinctual lifestyle…. maybe its the way we are supposed to be.

Perhaps controlled drugs can curtail their negative effects butI also know people who abuse alcohol and become absolute monsters when they are on it. Alcoholism has severely impacted several of my family members life – passively.

Thumper 8:50 am 11 Sep 06


here is a reason why I am critical of drugs, soft and hard.

Two of my school mates from years ago are now dead. (Notice, DEAD, not passed away, or lost. DEAD). One ODed and the other, in a fit of schitzophrenia brought on by the use of smack, shot himself.

Point two. A kid I know who is about 21 or so now, was heavily into smoking dope when he was 14-15. I helped him kick the habit but he’s never quite been the same since and suffers from terrible depression and mood swings like you have never seen. Pity, he was a nice kid and still is, half the time…

Maybe these are just isolated cases and I haven’t seen the ‘good’ side of taking drugs.

As for ‘some people want to live a lifestyle of actually feeling good and not working’ comment.

Since when the fuck do my taxes have to go to some low life scumbag who wants to spend his days out of his skull, contributing nothing to society, being a total and utter leech to humanity, and will never, ever contribute anything to anyone at any stage.

If you want a certain lifestyle, then you pay for it by legitimate means. Not sponging off the government, not rolling little old ladies, not stealing DVDs and CDs from some poor bastards house.

You advocate free drugs to everyone so we can all be off our face? You are fucking kidding, aren’t you?

Chris S 8:46 am 11 Sep 06

The ACT Government has just released a discussion paper on the Review of the ACT Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994( I don’t know how to do the linking bit – if you go to the Health website, don’t expect to easily find it as thjey’ve tucked it away as if to make sure they don’t get any responses.

Perhaps, given the way in which many Riotacters express pretty firm opinions on many matters, the Riotact could put together a response to this paper?

Given that the existing Act is 12 years old, and that the consultation for that would have taken place a year or two earlier, what is being decided now will determine how we deal with MH issues in the ACT for at least another 15 years, if not much longer.

The discussion paper is very wide ranging, including the establishment of a MH precinct at TCH (which includes a secure unit) and another unit at the prison.

From what I can tell, the ACT has quite a different approach to other jurisdictions, where the primary secure unit is considered to be a health facility rather than a correctional one.

Is that the right way? If there are some themes in all this, then RA subscribers should lodge a response to the Discussion Paper.

Absent Diane 8:39 am 11 Sep 06

hey guys ever heard of the words BRAINWASHED… personally I can never understand why people are so critical of drugs… some people want to live a lifestyle of actually feeling good and not working.. If the governments offered more to support this lifestyle.. the world would be a much better place

and special g the issue isn’t when they are on them… it is when they are off them.

Thumper 7:58 am 11 Sep 06


If you’re on the horse you’ve got to expect to fall off.

Special G 7:56 am 11 Sep 06

Its just another excuse for the Courts when they break into your home or rob you at knifepoint in the streets.

Most of them would be fine if they stayed of the gear. That shit will f#*k with anyones head.

They don’t seek help or want it except when it comes to funding their chosen lifestyle.

Thumper 7:55 am 11 Sep 06

I drink to make other people interesting…

miz 11:06 pm 10 Sep 06

There is a problem with the artificial separation in the way the health system deals with the mentally ill and the drug addicted. A close friend’s family, in trying to deal with their loved one’s (pharmaceutical drug) addiction and compounded mental disorder,has been fobbed off more than once by mental health and told to go to drug and alcohol first, and vice versa.

VYBerlinaV8 8:23 pm 10 Sep 06

No surprises here – seems the mentally ill struggle to get the help they need nowadays.

nyssa76 6:58 pm 10 Sep 06

In my sister’s case, the drugs have brought on a “family history” of bi polar.

Luckily we’re half-sisters and I have never taken drugs.

She’s a basket case who takes her bf’s anti-psychotic drugs (self-medication) rather than see a specialist.

It’s not surprising (the article) but who takes them? Mental Health or Drug Rehab? Both will try to palm them off to the other.

Same with mental illness in youth and CAHMS/ACT Dept. of Education.

terubo 5:49 pm 10 Sep 06

I started drinking because everyone around me was miserable. Now they’re drinking too, which makes me miserable.

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