All Aboard the Gravy Train

Circle of Visciousness

Interesting comment by Peter Hitchens in his Mail on Sunday Column.  And, God forgive me, I agree with him.  I feel all dirty now.  I’m going to be scrubbing my skin with scouring pad and bleach for the next week.

My mother, a psychiatric nurse in inner city Birmingham, on an acute ward told me how the addiction gravy train works. Here’s what happens: police bring addict in to the acute ward.  The next day they meet with the consultant psychiatrist and key nurse and a care plan is drawn up.  One of the conditions of that care plan will be that if the addict leaves the hospital and returns obviously under the influence of drugs they will be discharged.  In numerous cases this is exactly what they will do – leave the hospital and return clearly under the influence of their drug of choice.  The nurses will recommend discharge.  The patient will meet with his/her consultant and the nurses will almost invariably be overruled, proving that the care plan is, quite literally, not worth the paper it’s written on.

Treating addicts as helpless victims is not always helpful and, in many cases, it can be downright destructive.  Because the hidden message is that they will always be addicts, that they are not capable of anything else; that this is all they are and this is all they ever will be.  By failing to treat addicts as autonomous beings who are responsible for their own actions, you are depriving them of their humanity. And that’s more insulting than a thousand ‘right wing tirades’ could ever be.

Sometimes kindness can kill.

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