Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

A Public Service Announcement

May 12, 2013

Or: Another Dog That Failed to Bark



November 27, 2011

My mother retires in a few weeks. She is leaving the chaos that is the Birmingham mental health system. For the last few years she has watched it disintegrate. She is left wondering what went wrong.

My mother claims that the permissive attitude of the younger doctors and nurses to the consumption of illegal drugs is partly to blame for the mess Birmingham’s mental health services are in.  She sees patients taking them openly in the presence of staff members.  This has always happened but at least they used to have the decency to hide what they were doing.  They call it self medication. The problem is that it often renders their prescribed medication ineffectual.  Also the staff do not know which comes first, which is the chicken and which is the egg, the mental illness or the drug addiction.  

As someone who has had my lucidity snatched away from me, I do not not much patience with those who surrender their lucidity voluntarily. I would give anything to have mine back.  To be devoid of muddle headed thinking, visions, dreams and voices. But is anyone permanently in that state, I wonder.  Clouded visions, dispatches from another dimension have their uses. But being like this all the time renders you completely dysfunctional and can deprive you of the ability to make any kind of meaningful contribution to the world.

And that is tragic.

Addendum: According to Our Esteemed Leader:


‘An expert report for Downing Street suggested more than three-quarters of GPs admitted they had signed people off sick for reasons other than their physical health.’

Make of that what you will.

Oh, look, it’s the Ghost of Lord Kitchener:

No, not you. You suck. Nor you. You suck like a Dyson! And haven't I told you to go forth and multiply about ten times already!

All Aboard the Gravy Train

December 14, 2008

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.

A Casualty of Care in the Community

July 22, 2008

Those Ubermenschen at the Mail on Sunday seem to believe that drug addiction and genuine mental/physical illness cannot co-exist.  I’d like to tell you about an old friend of mine: Karl, a tall, cadaverous man. I remember having to  crane my neck to talk to him.  I saw him as basically decent. I’ve never heard about him using physical violence on anyone.  He was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia in his teens and lived in sheltered accommodation for most of his adult life.  He was not terribly well educated but he can recite The Parrot Sketch word for word.  

On his fortieth birthday he decided he wanted to be completely independent.  This was probably the worst choice he has ever made. After red tape and bureaucracy were dealt with, the authorities moved him into a council flat.  On a sink estate with his fellow untermenschen. The local drug addicts homed in on him.  Those people smell blood and, like most predators, they hunt in packs.  They pretended they were his friends, they got him addicted to heroin at the age of forty, they used his home as a crack den.  It took a long time for the police to become involved.  Far too long.  They arrested the dealers and cleared Karl’s flat. They did not arrest Karl or charge him with any crime.  He was homeless for a while and then moved back into sheltered accommodation.  He is still addicted to heroin.

A poster boy for the failure of the Care in the Community policy if ever there was one.

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