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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?
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user1 2:19 am 01 Oct 06

The fact is that not everyone that uses drugs is a ‘junkie’ or unable to function in society. There are alot of people that use drugs that are less damaging (also non-addictive, see MDMA, LSD) than alcohol or tobacco recreationaly and responsibly. Have a look at this story from the BBC recently regarding the potential damage of drugs and thier corrosponding classification in the UK including a graph at the bottom

seepi 5:26 pm 14 Sep 06

Simto not in my experience. Someone very close to me used to be lovely to be around, and is now totally revolting. Watching someone you know turn into a freak is one of the saddest parts of drug addiction.

Absent Diane 2:36 pm 14 Sep 06

ridiculous generalisation much?

simto 2:25 pm 14 Sep 06

I dunno – I’d suspect that most people who use drugs had pretty revolting personalities to start with, and they use the drugs as an excuse for their revoltingness…

Mr_Shab 9:56 am 14 Sep 06

Hey, a “functioning” drug user is a relative term. Of course they would be better off not taking, but you can’t force them to stop by locking them up.

I say better to deal with them smacked-out but not hurting anyone and capable of maintaing themselves till they’re ready to stop.

seepi 9:43 am 14 Sep 06

I think junkies are worse than alcoholics or gamblers. They are much harder to be around anyway. The drugs seem to change their personalities from normal/pleasant to revolting.
And does anyone here really know some of these functional injecting drug users we are always hearing about? I know one, and I still believe his life would be far better in every way, and he would be happier, healthier and more successful if he wasn’t into drugs.

BattleKath 9:17 am 14 Sep 06

people have always taken drugs, people will always do it, lets get over that.

we need to start seeing this as something bigger than “drugs are bad”. In the original link to the CT article on this thread it says that many of the ‘more than half’ of drug users had mental illnesses before they started on the drugs in the first place, the drugs have simply pushed a little harder on these people who may then not have the ‘normal’ capacities to stop or know when enough is enough… especially when coming off the drugs brings on their underlying illness much harder.

so this isn’t just about drugs or how much of an inconvenience the person is that you know, who has got themselves caught up in this.

A lot of people take drugs and don’t become ‘junkies’ because they have those capacities to stop or at least know when it’s affecting other aspects of their life.

miz 9:05 am 14 Sep 06

Drink driving regulation actually supports the view that it is better to regulate and not prohibit . . .
Danman, I think the night rider bus (around Xmas), taxis and/or your lounge room qualify as ‘safe car driving rooms’!

simto 8:55 am 14 Sep 06

Look, Nyssa, I have no problem believing that your sister is a waste of space and an evil person. However, she’d be exactly the same way and be doing largely the same things should she be addicted to, say, gambling and alcohol (endangering her child and, probably, stealing to feed her addiction). Both of which are legal. She’d remain just as hideous and just as dangerous to herself and others.

So saying “she’s hideous because she’s a junkie” is more than a little simplistic. She should be strung up because she’s a hideously bad mother and a thief, not because she’s a junkie.

Let’s put it this way – I’d rather that crimes committed by drug addicts were seen as what they are – crimes – rather than as part of their druggy lifestyles. If you want to go on being hideous, do so, just don’t clog up the legal system by making it chase stuff that it doesn’t need to.

Danman 8:32 am 14 Sep 06

Lets have safe car driving rooms.

Absent Diane 8:21 am 14 Sep 06

vg – I can understand that maybe you have seen a lot of the negative effects of drugs. hence the black and white view – personally I don’t blame you for having that view in your profession – same goes for nyssa with her sister. the issue in’t black and white but I guess you can’t argue that with people who are only willing to look at it from their own eyes.

Cars are far more dangerous than any drug.

vg 9:44 pm 13 Sep 06

I’ll look at the situation from ‘their eyes’ when they start looking at it from mine occasionally.

Prohibition hasn’t ‘failed miserably’…..don’t believe that hype. People still drink drive, should we give up on that as well

Absent Diane 8:27 pm 13 Sep 06

You want to understand these people… you want to make them stop… you need to try and look at the situation from their eyes. Its all well and good to say get off your arse… but I have known some of the most intolerable losers in my life and my analysis of them is that they are in essence lazy and laziness can be a manifestation of shyness, esteem blah blah… In their laziness they look for the quickest fix.. think about it.. why would they put in effort.. when they feel like they have already been stung.

I can’t believe I am pointing this out it is so logical… everyones brains develop differently.. they develop different patterns.. different coping mechanisms.. You cannot just expect someone to be able to rewire themselves and ‘get off their arse’. Of course it doesn’t mean that they can’t.. getting them to proactively want to is the problem.

However there is a better way than prohibition to reduce the impact they have on my life.

Exactly – prohibition has failed miserably

Binker 7:23 pm 13 Sep 06

It’s not about feeling sorry for them it’s about reducing the cost to society (so being part of society it’s really just me selfishly advocating reduction in what I have to pay by way of tax/insurance). Prohibition is expensive (law enforcement, courts, corrections, etc) and just doesn’t work. Legalisation or some other form of regulation less extreme than prohibition doesn’t lead to an increase in drug use (examining countries that don’t prohibit drugs), if you want to use drugs they are readily available despite prohibition.

My tax payments and insurance payments will decrease if drugs are legalised, social problems will not increase and will probably decrease (in line with the price reduction of drugs and hence a reduction in $ seeking crime). Junkies will still be neglecting their kids, driving stoned etc but they’re doing that anyway (as are drunks).

Many people who take drugs are fucking shithead arseholes, many are not. Many people who drink are also fucking shithead arseholes. The fucking shithead arseholes will be just that, stoned or straight, drunk or sober.

The hypocrisy of legal system (and society) which allows the use of alcohol (a drug) while prohibiting other drugs is manifest. Alcohols legal status and other drugs illegality is a quirk of history, it is not based on any empirical foundation. There is no difference between alcohol users and other drug users other than in the eyes of the law. An alcohol dependent person and a cannabis dependent person roughly equivalent just as a person that has a couple (and I underline couple) of wines on a Saturday night is the same as someone who smokes cannabis on a Saturday night.

And since it seems that anyone who advocates legalisation of drugs is assumed to be a user I will state that I am not (and neither do I use alcohol, I like being able to think).

And since it is also assume that people who advocate legalisation of drugs has not been a victim of drug related crime I will state that recently I was burgled and lost $5K of stuff, I have dug a drug users knife out of my chest, and have had a drug user stick a double barrel shotty in my mouth (to name just a few violent incidents).

I’ve got no time for drug users (alcohol or otherwise) whose behaviour impacts upon my right to enjoy my life. I wouldn’t like to have to work with them (other than just banging their heads together). However there is a better way than prohibition to reduce the impact they have on my life.

vg 6:39 pm 13 Sep 06

“nyssa – disengage your self from your own situation”

Why should she? People know people who have the occasion choof and are suddenly experts on drug use, but someone with a family member who is a junkie should disengage themselves?

Drugs are an excuse, a cop out. People use them to ‘feel good’? Get off you arse and experience life, plenty to feel good about if you have an iota of self-motivation.

Next time your house gets broken into just keep thinking how poor and down trodden those who voluntarily use illegal drugs that have virtually no form of quality control are.

String em up is more than a little harsh, but feeling sorry for the poor little blighters is quite pathetic. They are criminals, nothing surer

nyssa76 6:24 pm 13 Sep 06

AD, it’s ironic that you talk about rape victims. However, there are rape victims who never turn to drugs.

Hell, to think if I took drugs, broke into someone’s house etc, I’d have a great defence for not accepting the consequences of my actions.

Absent Diane 5:56 pm 13 Sep 06

nyssa – disengage your self from your own situation, because I’m sure that the issue runs deeper than just your sisters drug use.

Now hypothetically think about the poor girl who gets repeatedly raped by a family member or friend… never learns to get help, because she is off with the faeries. Grows up into prostitution, gets hooked on heroin because it is a release, hooks up with other junkies because they have some level of understanding.. feels dirty against this horrible world, so participates in crime.

Do you think this person deserves to be strung up.. or do you think that they need some level help… be it counselling mixed tapered dosages of controlled heroin. Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen.. because it does..

maybe sometimes drugs are a persons only release, do you blame them.

nyssa76 5:56 pm 13 Sep 06

Binker, what argument, Ari’s a tool trying to bait me with the “racist” argument.

Why does he need you to fight his battles?

Junkies shouldn’t be treated with the BS “softly softly” mantra. They chose to shoot up etc. Why should we “choose” to put up with their actions?

Not about Ari’s BS need to feel important.

Binker 5:13 pm 13 Sep 06

she says completely missing the point of the argument

nyssa76 5:04 pm 13 Sep 06

Ari, get stuffed.

Go and crawl back under your rock.

Junkies chose to take drugs and again I’ll blow a hole in your argument re: Aboriginals.

One is RACE, the other is a CHOICE.

Wake up to yourself.


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