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The Drug War Juggernaut Stumbles in the UK

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This week Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom, who is responsible for law enforcement in North Wales, made a strong statement against the aggressive anti-drug stance of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, stating that the war on drugs in the UK is “irrational, illogical, immoral and hypocritical" and that "most importantly it doesn’t work.”

Brunstrom went further to call for the legalization of all drugs, including cocaine and heroin, in a report submitted to the North Wales Police Authority on Monday, where he declared that, "If policy on drugs is in future to be pragmatic not moralistic, driven by ethics not dogma, then the current prohibitionist stance will have to be swept away as both unworkable and immoral."

Brunstrom has been a controversial but popular figure who has often challenged government law enforcement assumptions, but on this issue he has received a surprisingly positive reception. The NWPA praised his report and agreed to back Brunstrom's call for radical overhaul of drug laws. While not embracing his call for full legalization they endorsed the idea of reclassifying drugs including alcohol and tobacco and decriminalizing most drugs under the new classification system.

Brunstrom believes in dealing with drugs by attacking the producers and criminals financially and that the most effective way to do that is to reduce profits through legalization. He said, “What better than to cut their profits, put them out of business? We have handed over the production, control and supply of the entire thing to active criminals. How can that possibly be a good outcome of government policy?”

Government officials were quick to discount Brunstrom's ideas before his report had even been submitted, with Vernon Coaker of the Home Office insisting that a police crackdown was the only way to deal with Britain's problems with drugs and drug-related crimes.

Brunstrom's recommendations come in the context of reports that last year violent crime in Scotland increased by 40%, largely driven by alcohol abuse, part of a UK-wide trend of increasing alcoholism. What's more, the cost of the war on drugs has mounted to £13 billion a year and the number of people incarcerated for drug crimes has risen 100% in the last decade.

To Brunstrom the problems seem obvious. Alcohol and tobacco are growing problems which are being neglected, while resources are being wasted in a war on other drugs which serves mostly to enrich drug producers, dealers, and organized crime.

The question which remains unanswered is whether anyone in government will listen, even when the cry from reform comes from a top law enforcement official.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Yeah, let’s hear it for the folks legally smoking hookahs and shooting up.

    Heck, if society is structured so that it drives you to want to use drugs, why not make it illegal – that way the cops can collect a little side action along with their pay, and criminals have what to sell.

    It’s helping the economy!!

    Nobody seems willing to get to the root of the problem – which has little to do with drugs or crime and everything to do with exploitation.

  • Martin Lav

    Seems as if you are saying that drugs should be legalized, while alcohol should be not be.

  • The Brunstroms of this world are just going to have to keep plugging their message. Drugs are not going to be legalized in the current climate because politicians, and those whose votes they crave, are incapable of thinking outside the box on this one.

    It is becoming clear to more and more people that the ‘War on Drugs’ makes no sense. The politicians will come round. For a senior police officer to make such a statement – and for his employers, the probably rather conservative NWPA, to back him up – is progress.

  • I agree with this in principle, but I wonder how it would play out in the real world. It’s not a simple issue, or a solution that would be simple to implement.

  • Martin Lav

    Just go to Amsterdam, that’ll give you an inkling of how it would play out here….

  • Lumpy

    Amsterdam is now apparently reconsidering some of its lax laws on drug use.

    But it’s not really a fair comparisom because in that case they concenttated all the drugs and prostitution in one city rather than integrating legalization into the society as a whole.

  • Seems as if you are saying that drugs should be legalized, while alcohol should be not be.

    This was a ‘news’ article, so I’m not really saying much of anything. What Brunstrom and his colleagues seem to be saying is that all of the drugs in question including cigarettes and alcohol ought to be taken out of the current system and then reassessed as a group and classified in a more differentiated hierarchy where alcohol might define the top level of legality and drugs which are less harmful than alcohol would remain legal or restricted in more limited ways.

    I think Brunstrom would draw the cutoff for legality rather higher than his colleagues in the constabulary would, broadening the category of legal but restricted drugs to include things like heroin.


  • Few people would argue that Britain has a drink problem – the most recent furore (reported on in the article to which you have linked) was over middle class drinkers, while the usual finger is pointed at younger, poorer ‘binge’ drinkers who get smashed to flippery and then cause all sorts of bovver.
    I think it was in the 18th Century that the boast of England was that its inns promised to get you drunk for a penny and insensible for two. Mark Edward Manning, who posts on Blogcritics (though I haven’t seen anything in a while) has often commented on our booze-soaked culture from his perspective as an American in London. Despite all the government initiatives and the laughable small-print on drink adverts, “enjoy responsibly”, there’s now an enormous market for sweet, fruit flavoured drinks and ‘shots’ which are catching youngsters. It seems self-destructive boozing really just is ingrained in British culture and, as soon as you enter a working class area you will find massive discounting of the strongest drinks (particularly street-drinker fave white cider) in virtually every type of store – you can even buy booze in petrol stations. What am I trying to say? I don’t really know because I don’t see any change in the wind and I really think it is so ingrained as to be unchangeable – whenever our football fans go abroad to meditterranean countries reports come back that the locals are shocked by the drunkenness of the British – it’s well expressed by Billy Bragg’s hooli song The Few: “Our neighbours shake their heads
    and take their valuables inside,
    While my countrymen piss in their fountains
    to express our national pride.” (perhaps there’s something for that British motto appeal in there – “Want trouble? Just add alcohol” ;o))

  • I’m not sure there’s that much more drinking in the UK than here in the US, I just suspect that the Brits are more honest about their drinking, while the Scots just have no sense of personal shame whatsoever.

    Living in a college town as I do (more or less) I see an awful lot of public drunkenness, and I know plenty of people who drink fairly heavily – but manageably – and have done so since they were in college.

    The real question with alcohol, like any other drug, is how well equipped the society is to deal with it. If you have programs to minimize the impact of drunk driving and decent rehab programs (not AA) then society can minimize the large scale impact of alcoholism.

    When I lived in Russia where they drink a hell of a lot more than in the US or the UK, the police were very proactive about alcohol abuse and rounded up the drunks and took them to dry out as a public service, and while they were still drunks, they didn’t inflict it upon others all that much.


  • Maurice

    I have lived in absolute anguish these past two years. I am a father of five and have had nightmarish problems with my last two boys. There are so many drugs out there and they are so available. I have always been of the opinion that we should legalize all drugs. After the hell I have been through I have reversed my opinion completely. I have been to the ER so many times now that the doctor knows me by name. We have a psychiatrist, psychologist, and counselor for each boy. We go to NA. My youngest turned 15 in juvenile lockup and is now in a residential rehab. My other son just got out of the hospital after an overdose of datura. He was restrained in intensive care for 2 days. My younger son is partial to DXM which he gets by taking coricidin. I wish to hell they would just take coriciden and robitussin off the shelf!

    I think the most painful part of the entire process is meeting with other parents and realizing that this problem is every where.

  • I’ve hallucinated from DXM at normal dosage, so I know how powerful it can be.

    I sympathize with your problems, Maurice. But I do have to point out that the drugs you’re talking about here aren’t controlled substances at all. Moderating drug laws wouldn’t make your situation any worse, and I firmly believe that marijuana has a therapeutic value for a lot of troubled teens which isn’t being used effectively because of the ban.

    I’d sure rather have my kids smoking weed than doing DXM or Datura.

    Good lord, Datura. Where do kids get the idea they should be eating (smoking?) a deadly toxin like that? Are they doing digitalis too?


  • Maurice

    Both boys started out smoking pot and playing video games. Innocent enough but then they got the idea of eating datura seeds from the internet. It grows naturally here in Idaho. Coricidin and Robitussin are being abused daily in the schools. I forgot to mention the adderal abuse. Look it up.

    I have always subscribed to the tenents of the great Milton Friedman who was one of the most vocal advocates of legalizing drugs. I just can’t believe my own life became such a living hell.

    My youngest son ran away from rehab last night.

  • These sound like the kind of drug problems you hear about in our suburban high schools around here, though prescription drug abuse seems like the biggest problem. Somehow I don’t think of drug problems when I think of Idaho.

    I have a hard time understanding drug abuse. When I was a kid my perceptions of reality were screwed up enough without adding drugs to the mix.

    Keep loving the kids and try not to let it hurt you too much. Most of those I’ve known who went through drug obsessed phases early in life eventually came out of it and ended up okay.

    And don’t give up on your principles. Believing in drug legalization does not mean encouraging or condoning their use. If they’re willing to take Datura, no drug law in the world was likely to stop them


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    I really feel for you. I have two sons and have done my damnedest to shield them from using. The problems you cite do sound like any suburban high school in the States and like lots of schools on the coast here in Israel where they have rave parties and the pills are all over the place. Kids use drugs in Jerusalem and smoke hookahs even here in Ma’aleh Levona. I remember seeing a drug sale while on patrol in Jerusalem as a civil volunteer and calling a friend of mine (with two daughters) to warn him that the high school in his neighborhood was a site for drug sales.

    Once, I came down to do patrol here in the village and saw a bunch of kids sitting smoking and partying while “guarding” the village gate.

    While I do understand your reversal on your position on the sale of controlled substances, I have to point out, as Dave has, that coricidin and many of the other things kids in Idaho and elsewhere in America are abusing are hardly controlled substances.

    I refer you back to comment #1 on this article. The issues you suffer from are a culture of exploitation generally, including drugs. Very few Americans want to face this fact squarely; it would fly in the face of too many cherished ideas of “I do what I want,” or “free market capitalism,” etc., etc.

  • Maurice

    Dave and Ruvy,

    I appreciate your sentiments and take them to heart. My reversal on this topic would include listing coricidin, robitussin, and datura as controlled substances.

    Both my boys have walked into Albertsons and stolen coricidin and robitussin off the shelf.

    I have to agree with you that there is a root problem that is not related to drug legalization. My only thought is that the drugs are so available and are in all the schools and there needs to be a way to curb the drug use of the very young.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

  • Maurice

    BTW my youngest son returned to the residential rehab on his own. He will be required to stay longer now. Hopefully he will get out at Christmas.

  • Silver Surfer

    Maurice, if it’s any consolation, I have been through similar stuff.

    At one stage I used to lie awake on Saturday nights, and when I got through to about 6am, I’d think, OK, the sun’s coming up, what trouble can he get into now?

    One weekend out of two, if I hadn’t already got a call, I’d just be falling asleep, then I’d get a phone call from North Sydney Police station telling me they’d arrested him, and I could hear him in the holding cells screaming and carrying on and abusing the coppers.

    I have had to go through two criminal court cases, one as a juvenile and the other as an adult as he’d just turned 18, and hiring a barrister on top of his solicitor (in the US, I guess it would be a courtroom lawyer and an assistant) because the last thing they charged him with carried a jail term as an adult. He got off, but it cost the best part of 10 grand.

    Or, the local hospital emergency room would call to say he’d been knocked out in a fight. … etc, and ad infinitum.

    That all happened while he was being chased by first-grade rugby coaches keen to sign him up for a football career, which he dropped along with all other sports except bar room brawling after leaving school.

    A few years down the track, however, and (touch wood) he seems to have improved out of sight.

    He is still irreponsible but is working full-time (and paying back a share of the $10,000), planning to return to study, and has recently started playing cricket again on Saturdays – a game that requires great commitment and patience as a result is decided over two weekends. They are positive signs, although the friendships still bother me. But in truth, it’s not my business anymore.

    I love him, but I can’t live his life for him.

    The truth is, you just never know with boys. They just do this kind of stuff. Some go through and come out fine, while others can take longer.

    Take solace from that, if you can.

  • America is a drug-drenched culture. We’re told constantly in TV commercials and in print ads that there’s a pill for everything and a drug or three for any problem we have.

    Athletes and performance-enhancers are commonplace. Adult society accepts all this to the tune of billions of dollars annually, so kids are learning at an early age to think this way, too.

    Getting high has always been laughed and joked about, and a symbol of rebellion. No one ever plans to become addicted. I once had a frank talk with a reformed teenager about why she had sniffed glue, when she knew the dangers. She said, “Just to get away.” My strong feeling is that almost every public school has some kids already addicted, and a number of others experimenting.

    Many kids today see illegal drugs used in their homes before they come to school. (I know of one local case where a jr. high kid reported his parents to school officials to try to get them to stop.) Parental example is important, but peer and societal pressures often win out with kids.

    Maybe getting kids to spread anti-drug messages to other kids would have some value. Or a national “scared straight” program of some type. We give grants to everything else, why not a pilot program along these lines somewhere?

    IMO, the so-called war on drugs–prohibition–is a failure of concept and implementation. It costs too much and doesn’t accomplish any kind of sustainable victories. Legalization–much as I dislike the idea of suggesting to kids it’s somehow more “acceptible”–would take away the criminal’s profit motive; it would have to be coupled with vastly more treatment and education.

    I would love for presidential candidates to be asked to suggest some viable and detailed alternatives. Where is this problem in their list of priorities? What good is “homeland security” if cough medicine can tear at us from within?

  • Maurice

    Silver Surfer,

    thanks so much for your story. It does help to hear from others. I am troubled by how common my story is. There are so many people that just nod their head and say, “yes, we had one like that”. Also, I can relate to the sleepless nights. My wife and I dread the phone ringing.

    Lee Richards,

    you make many good points. Both my boys are outstanding atheletes and the youngest has a very high IQ. It is heartbreaking to see them throw it all away.

    The longer this goes on the more I realize that NO ONE KNOWS how to fix this problem. All the professionals are at as much of a loss as we layman.

  • Taking the money we’re spending on the war on drugs and applying it to good rehab programs and a major educational campaign seems like it would be about the best way to go. Imagine what you could get for $50 billion a year as far as drug awareness education goes.


  • Martin Lav

    The US Government can do a lot to control drug use in this country. One of the biggest scourges to wreak havoc on our society is Crystal Meth. If the US Govt wasn’t “owned” by the Pharm. drug cos. in this country, they could eliminate this drug overnight. There’s only a handful of companies in the world that can even manufacture the drug (ephedrine)and the US could shut them down if they wanted to. Look at what they did to Quaalude’s a few decades ago.
    And how about alcohol?
    What of the worst drugs known to man and yet it’s pushed onto society, legally like no other.
    More people die from alcohol than drugs, but that doesn’t mean we should legalize drugs.

    The Restless Consumer

  • Martin are you really totally unfamiliar with the history of alcohol prohibition?


  • Maurice

    Dave #20

    Interesting point about spending the money on rehabs. Seems like a good idea. The average price for rehab is $10k per month. I am really impressed with the NA meetings we have attended. People speak about their personal battles with drugs and it is gut wrenching to hear their stories. At the end you only have to donate a dollar or 2.

    Best line I’ve heard in an NA meeting: We addicts are not like normal people. We can be laying in the gutter and look down our noses at others.

  • “We are all in the gutter. But some of us are looking at the stars.”

  • As you might guess I’m not a big fan of 12 step programs. While they may be cathartic and educational, they have a very poor record. More people kick or sober up without them than do with them. Plus they basically just substitute one addiction for another.


  • STM

    None of that is right, Dave. They have a high success rate, and they don’t substitute one addiction for another.

    I’ve got a mate who goes whose life is totally transformed. He is a great bloke, formerly a total arsehole.

    He is not addicted to AA. He enjoys going a couple of times a week because as he says, if he’s not reminded of how bad the bad times were, he forgets about them completely and why he had to stop in the first place. In his case, the past 20 years of not drinking have taken him literally from the gutter to the top of the pile.

    Suggestions of AA brainwashing are greeted with: “My brain needed a fu.king wash”.

  • Sorry, Stan. The statistics argue otherwise. Here’s a really, really detailed page on the subject, but to summarize, there’s no statistically signficant difference between longterm success rates with NA/AA and just trying to quit on your own.

    Your one guy example is anecdotal and great news for him, but proves nothing. It may work for him, but chances are that he would have gotten sober without it given the same motivation that took him to the meeting and the same amount of time.

    As for the addiction, IMO the addiction to god is just about as dangerous as the addiction to alcohol and that’s basically what AA is pushing. Some have even argued that a method which requires surrendering your will to god increases the likelihood of relapse because it removes the element of personal responsibility.


  • Khaled

    and it might be worthwhile looking into the fact that drug taking is symptomatic of a number of other factors; banning/legalising substances is only moving the problem from one side of the legal fence to the other, and in no way addresses the root causes.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Let’s take another look at this for a moment from the comments end. Dave has a problem with Twelve Step programs because recovery from the named addiction, understanding and recognizing the power of G-d in the universe, is anathema to him. Stan cites personal knowledge of a mate to counter this.

    From my own experience with Twelve Step programs, they have distinct weaknesses to them, but in essence are very sound. They propound a slight variant of the Jewish method of confession of sin in pushing the participant to remember every bad thing they’ve done and write it down and them be willing to confront that bad thing.

    But others can tell a different story.

    The fellow I tend to agree with here is Khaled, who seems to echo my points about a society of expoloitation, and Martin Lav, who correctly points out that American (and Israeli) society pushes pills for problems.

    Pushing a drug for problem solving and recreation (alcohol) is not smart at all, but that is what these societies do. Maurice, his sons, Stan and his son, are both victims of a society of exploitation that pushes drugs as its solution to the exploitation it imposes.

  • Dave’s blanket rejection of AA is disturbing and unnecessary.

    I have a friend whose life was definitely saved by 12-step programs. He is certainly no religious nut as a result – to allude to ‘god addiction’ is really off base. And without an intervention, he would not have chosen treatment. He’s sober now for more than 20 years.

    When it comes to kicking fatal addictions, we need to be open to whatever works for the individual involved. As usual, Dave finds some statistics that support his position, and then presents the discussion as a done deal. If anyone disagrees, they’re just foolish.

    I do wonder about AA’s allowing its adherents to smoke as many cigarettes as they want, because that addiction is not ‘psychoactive’ like alcohol and narcotics. I guess they consider it a pragmatic policy.

  • bliffle

    There’s an outfit called Rational Recovery (RR) that attempts much the same as AA without the religion and without the group meetings.

    I have no idea whether it works or not.

  • Maurice

    handyguy – your comments are right on! I would cut off my right arm if I could be assured that my boys would be drug free for the rest of their lives.

    I too have noticed that every person at the NA meetings smokes. It is especially noticable because they even say, “a drug is a drug is a drug”.

  • Martin Lav

    Dave as usual an expert on everything, master of none.

    Dr. Jung himself saw only one miracle “cure” for the hopeless alcoholic and that was with some sort of divine intervention or spiritual experience. While you believe AA is a God deal, I believe they put their trust in a higher power of their own choosing.

    My advice, save your money on the $10k rehab programs and let the Lindsey Lohans of the world piss it away and support your son in his NA program. The 2 bucks is money well spent.

    As far as cigarettes and trading one addiction for another, I know of know person that ever got arrested for smoking, or killed someone driving or beat up their wife, or abandon their kids or lost their job…..

    Neither do I know of anyone going to an AA meeting after work and not coming home that night. Trading one addiction for another is just a riduculous argument when one looks at the consequences of either one.

  • Martin, I don’t profess to be an expert at all. I’m just expressing and opinion and providing information.

    Rational Recovery does seem like an appealing alternative if you’re one of those who’s helped by support groups and a voluntary program.

    Martin, much of what you hate about Bush is supposedly a result of his 12 step indoctrination. Doesn’t that concern you?


  • bliffle

    Was Bush a 12 stepper? I thought he just went for a walk with Billy Graham and was cured.

  • REMF

    “I’m just expressing and opinion and providing information.”
    – Dave Nalle

    Quoted for everyones enjoyment.

  • Martin Lav

    To the contrary Nalle, Bush was a 1 stepper.
    Put down the drink, pick up the bible.
    He’s the classic “dry drunk” and that’s probably the main reason no one can explain his bizarre behavior.

  • Maurice

    Martin #33

    not only are the rehabs expensive there are damn few of them. Even fewer that will take a 15 year old. The recovery rate for youths is very low.

    My youngest son will come back home to live around Christmas time. We are going to concentrate on NA and a local church youth group that specializes in recovery. I am atheist/agnostic but willing to try ANYTHING to get my kids off drugs.

  • Martin Lav

    You can be an atheist and so can your son, the key is to believe in a higher power stronger than yourself/himself, for that glimmer of hope will help you to accept things as they are and give you/him power over what you haven’t/can’t controlled/control.
    Save the money, follow the steps and most of all ignore DAVE NALLE.

  • Khaled

    You’re right Martin, and that power can be anything that gives you strength.

    12 Steps programs have certainly helped countless people, especially those whose lives were nearly destroyed by their addiction. It does beg the question: how do you know you’ve really recovered if you are constantly in a state of abstaining?

    Do you think true recovery should be more about ‘I’m now doing something different with my life’ rather than ‘I am NOT taking drugs, I am NOT taking drugs….’ and going to meets for the rest of your life?

  • Martin Lav

    It’s called recovery, not recovered. Meaning one must live within a culture of recovery just as one lived within a culture of altered states. Since I believe the last step in the 12 step program is helping others and passing on the message, it seems a different way of life is a much more healthy approach.

  • Martin Lav

    “Taking the money we’re spending on the war on drugs and applying it to good rehab programs and a major educational campaign seems like it would be about the best way to go. Imagine what you could get for $50 billion a year as far as drug awareness education goes.”

    Ever heard of the JUST SAY NO campaign?

    Don’t think it’s been all that effective.

  • I know that I’m apparently not allowed to have an opinion here – according to Martin the great dictator – but I do have a suggestion.

    If you want to guide your son towards a higher authority or ideal without having to abandon atheism/agnosticism, you might have him read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I gave a copy to my eldest daughter and I think it helped her get a grip on some of her issues. The Roman pagan religious elements are largely irrelevant, but the philosophy of self-reliance and responsibility is very relatable even for teens.


  • Martin Lav


    “The statistics argue otherwise. Here’s a really, really detailed page on the subject, but to summarize, there’s no statistically signficant difference between longterm success rates with NA/AA and just trying to quit on your own.”

    I read this site Dave, sounds like this guys got some sort of personal agenda against AA. For you to cite him as a reference (the author is NOT identified by the way) is quite a leap.

    Do you not normally check out your references?

    You are a fraud and a phony sir and I would suggest that you retract your statement to Maurice who was asking for help for a very serious problem.

    To steer him away from a 12 step non-profit organization, is highly questionable on your part and then to cite a EXTREMIST CONSPIRACY THEORIST is unconscionable.

  • No, I agree, Martin. The guy is an anti AA fanatic. But at the same time he does bring up just about every possible piece of relevant information against AA. It’s still useful resource if you want to get the negatives on AA.

    He’s basically against the religious aspects of AA because he does make some positive comments about RR and similar programs.

    And I’m sorry I don’t believe in 12 step programs. I’ve seen them fail too many times to give them much credit.


  • Martin Lav

    In response to comment #45: SHAME ON YOU

    Your the one that linked to this “fanatics” web-site.

    If this is any indication of your standard referencing that I would question all your statements.

    To cite this “fanatics” figures, and then agree that he is a “anti-AA fanatic” when you’re using his statistics to support your claims, seems blatantly wrong to me. Especially since others had to point it out.

    I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to influence a comments poster for or against anything that you know nothing about, especially when that commenter was asking for help for his son.

    It’s extremely unprofessional and in my opinion immoral.

    Shame on you!

  • Martin, I’m an anti-AA fanatic too. And if a point is worth making why not make it with overkill. As I said before, that site is factual and it’s full of information. Yes, the author is clearly obsessed, but why not use the work that his obsession drove him to in order to inform yourself?


  • Martin Lav

    Clearly many millions of people have been helped by AA. Many commenter’s have also cited success with it’s 12 steps that they’ve seen in friends and family. Many, many organizations have adopted their program. (overeaters, gamblers, excessive bloggers)
    all with much success. So when a concerned commenter asks for help and you so casually and frivolously denounce AA and then link to the rantings of an apparent lunatic, I would say that that is chiefly irresponsible.

    While you can arbitrarily espouse your opinions on such silly nonsense as politics and the like, I would think that you would have enough sense and concern to flippantly remark on a subject you clearly know nothing about that to some people is a matter of life and death.

    Stand down.

  • STM

    Just out of interest Dave, are you a non-drinker??

    Did you perhaps go to AA briefly, or have someone suggest such a thing, at some stage and find it not to your liking?

    Not a put down mate, as that’s quite a common thing in my experience. And you are right of course – plenty of people do stop drinking or taking drugs, or stop doing either excessively, without 12-step programs. Just wondering 🙂

    But you seem very anti old boy, and vehemently so, which seems unusual for someone who wouldn’t have any first-hand knowledge of the thing.

    You don’t have to answer this, of course, if you think it might (or might not) incriminate you …

  • Khaled

    Maurice: I don’t know if you’ve heard of Human Givens therapy, they have a very balanced and sensible approach to addictions, and have a deep understanding of how the brain works especially where addictions are concerned. They are used more and more by the NHS and have a very good success rate. They look at the person as a whole and approach it in a practical way. I don’t want to post any links here so just do a search for Human Givens and you can find out more there.

  • Maurice

    Khaled – thanks for the heads up. They have some interesting theories and I will persue them. The relationship between daytime worry and slow wave sleep strikes a resonance with me.

    Dave – I will check out Meditations. My son tried reading a book on Taoism recommended by his psychologist and didn’t make it very far. I have heard over and over that only the addict can help himself. Most of the time it requires them to hit bottom. They all have a different bottom.

    Martin thanks for your advice. Don’t worry about me being overly persuaded by Dave. I like Dave and read all his articles. I am open to any solution at this point whether it involves God/Higher Power/12 steps/more twinkies….

  • Maurice, if God and 12 steps will get him straightened out then that’s fantastic. But I do think you’re dead on that ultimately the addict has to do most of the work himself. I think kids are too young and inexperienced in a lot of cases to realize how badly they are screwing up their lives. I know a lot of folks who went off the rails as teens and then basically spent a decade wasted before finally pulling themselves together and getting back on track. It’s distressingly common, and it’s particularly tragic if they produce kids in the process, which often seems to be the case. I know more than a few grandparents raising the kids of their own messed up kids. Not that this has anything to do with your situation.