Sunday, August 7, 2011

The facts about drugs

I have now been commissioned by my publisher to write a second book, this time on drug counselling. I am currently writing about how it is important for the drug counsellor to have the facts about drug use. Whilst this seems like a fairly simple and rudimentary task it is surprisingly difficult.

One reason for this is that drugs are inevitably a political issue and that means governments will present the facts on drugs in a way which suits their current political need. This extends to the official health information on drugs. Most commonly they tell the truth but they don’t tell the whole truth.


The following comes from a website of the Government of Western Australia - Drug and Alcohol Office.

It provides variety of information including the possible effects of various drugs. Below is what it presents as the list of the possible effects of cannabis. This list is what one usually finds in government presented facts on cannabis. It is presented in this order in the website.

loss of concentration
impaired balance
loss of inhibitions
reduced coordination
feeling of wellbeing
increased heart rate
reddened eyes
increased appetite
tunnel awareness - where a person focuses their awareness on one thing
detachment from reality
panic attacks
respiratory problems
mental health problems in those who are vulnerable
lung cancer
decreased concentration
decreased memory and learning abilities
interference with sexual drive and hormone production
mental health problems in those who are vulnerable

Woman drinking wine

This list presents the effects of cannabis as a very undesirable thing. If this list was accurate who would ever spend their hard earned money to get such effects. Who would ever voluntarily engage in an illegal activity to get such effects. Yet one third of the entire adult population of Australia has done precisely that, engaged in the illegal activity of smoking marijuana. It cannot be as bad as this list suggests.

It does not present the true picture even though it does include all the facts. Yet they are presented in such a way to give a misleading picture and hence my point that drug counsellors can find it hard to get the true picture on the facts about drugs. This list has a political agenda behind it because drugs as I said before are always a political issue.

The reason why so many people have used marijuana is because of effect number five - feeling of wellbeing. The way it is stated and how it is hidden in the list gives a false picture of the effects.

social isolation

If they were going to give a true picture of the effects of cannabis at the top of the list they would say - The vast majority of users will get the effect where the cannabis makes them feel really, really, really good. Clearly this is very different from it being included as the fifth effect and simply put as, a feeling of well being.

A government website could never be so candid because there would be an outcry from various groups saying such a statement encourages cannabis use. That may or may not be true. However the point at hand is this demonstrates how hard it is to get the true picture on the facts of drugs. Those engaged in drug counselling have to negotiate the various political agendas on both sides of the fence to get accurate information which obviously the drug counsellor must have.



  1. I’m no expert, but it seems that if the government researchers would make a list of the effects of alcohol abuse and compare to the list for marijuana abuse, they would lobby to have alcohol made illegal and marijuana legalized.

  2. Wonderful to hear that you have been commissioned to do this.

    A similar list of effects could no doubt be compiled for tobacco or alcohol. They could also list the drug which has by far the most devastating personal and social effects in our culture - alcohol! Some facts about this would be interesting I think.

    Anyway, enough of the rant. Excellent to hear that a good book on this stuff is coming, it is most surely needed!

  3. Hello KYLady,

    I think you are right. Alcohol is a much more damaging and dangerous drug comp[ared to Marijuana. I have said before that if governments were serious about stopping volence against women they could probably reduce DV by 50% overnight. All they have to do is what you suggest make alcohol illegal and make marijuana legal


  4. Hello Evan,

    Yes it is good to have a new project in this book. Having done one already I feel more capable and know some of the pitfalls to avoid that I got caught in last time. Also I have some good new stuff that is rarely seen in books on drug counselling. I think it makes quite a significant addition to the practice in this field. They anticipate it being available for sale at the end of 2012.


  5. Congratulations on your being commissioned for a new book.

    My younger sister was heavily into smoking dope during her 20's. That was ten years ago and she has no obvious long term affects of her drug use.

    I know people who have significant drinking problems and see such long term damage both physically and mentally.

    Neither are ideal choices but I do wonder at why cannabis is considered such a dangerous thing when alcohol has such long term problems associated with it.

    I was wondering what you think of the thought process that home grown cannabis has a different effect on people compared to that which is grown in intense hydroponic situations. My sister could always tell the difference and preferred home grown.

  6. You ask a good question Linda about why marijuana is considered such a dangerous drug and I will answer that question in my book. I am including a section on why some drugs are illegal and others are not. Its a new little different thing to see in a drug counselling book. At least I have never seen such a chapter before in such a text.

    Since the beginning of time there has been different strengths of marijuana. These days there is a lot of hype about hydro mul that is basically BS. Those with vested interests try to say now there is hydro which is much stronger than any marijuana before. Simply not true. Hashish which is made from the flower and pollen of the marijuana plant has been around for thousands of years and is the strongest form you can get. the leaf tends to be the lowest strength and the head or flower of the plant is much stronger but less so than hashish usually. So it depends mainly on what part of the plant you are smoking, not if its hydro or not.


  7. Tony, Congratulations for the commission of the new book.

    I am quite concerned why people feel the need to turn to drugs (and alcohol) to feel well in their own skin.

    I wonder if most might cite lack of personal power and control over their lives, at least by taking drugs they empowered themselves, rebelled against the authorities, and felt ecstatic to boot. I think any of those 3 could get very addictive, and I find it saddening that people have to do this to feel alive and free.

  8. It's slightly misleading for people to think that alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis as per one of the comments. You ask any cannabis addict about their drug-induced psychoses, the voices they hear in their head and the dreadful feeling of self-worthlessness which follow in a fairly rapid time after the first few joints.

    Both drugs (alcohol and cannabis) have their highs and lows. The problem lies when there are more lows - when you've 'crossed the line'. And that's when they have become wholly detrimental to your emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

    Having being in a rehab centre for addiction, and thankfully now being in recovery, I can quite honestly say that any mind-altering substance needs to be avoided, particularly if there is a history of addiction in the family.

  9. Hello dwaterh,
    Yes there are the symptomatic and dependent users who use drugs to feel well. these however are the smallest group of users of marijuana and alcohol. The vast majority use occasionally and suffer very few if any adverse affects


  10. Hello Annie T,

    Good to hear you are in recovery. I worked for five years in a drug rehab centre and thus have some knowledge as to what being in recovery means, good for you.

    As I mentioned in the comment above the vast majority of marijuana users suffer very little adverse effects and my point is that it is necessary to be clear and open about that when providing information to the public that you are claiming to be the truth and the whole truth.


  11. Hello Tony, Congratulations for new books. Maybe goverment have a fair about facts that mariujana are opet door for herion etc. I can not wait to see your new books. Bosnia love you!

  12. Hello Sedin,

    You raise the issue of gateway drugs, ie marijuana is a gateway to heroin. I am just now writing about that in my new book which is a coincidence. One day I would like to come to bosnia


  13. I have read so many content about the blogger lovers however this post is
    genuinely a fastidious article, keep it up.

    my blog:

  14. It's an amazing paragraph for all the online visitors; they will get benefit from it I am sure.

    My site:

  15. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and
    I am impressed! Very helpful info specifically the last part :) I care for such information a lot.
    I was looking for this particular information for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

    Here is my blog - vexxhost critical reviews
    my site :: Http://webhostingtop3.Com

  16. Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with
    us so I came to take a look. I'm definitely loving the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Exceptional blog and fantastic design and style.

    Also visit my web blog :: Natural Anxiety Remedies Tips

  17. Thank you for any other informative blog.
    Where else could I am getting that type of information written in such a
    perfect method? I have a challenge that I'm simply now working on, and I have been at the glance out for such info.

    Also visit my blog post; Evaluations

  18. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus
    i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve my website!
    I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    My blog Cheapwebhostingfirms.Com

  19. My family members all the time say that I am killing my time here at net,
    except I know I am getting experience all the
    time by reading such fastidious articles or reviews.

    Feel free to surf to my weblog ... JustHost Evaluations

  20. I found that site very usefull and this survey is very cirious, I ' ve never seen a blog that demand a survey for this actions, very curious...
    drug and alcohol abuse