Political Guts

Indigenous Health and Drug and Alcohol Abuse

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The tragedy is that it's a tragedy at all. 
It's not just indigenous health, it's THE national health crisis!

A huge challenge with dealing with the indigenous issues of health, alcohol, domestic violence or any other issue is that as soon as a solution is put forward, someone raises the race flag.  The solution lies in NOT recognising race, but recognizing the human side of the problem.  These are problems for every part of our society.


There is no denying there are problems in indigenous communities.  Many or even most of them stem from the over consumption of alcohol, and the high level of alcoholism within the communities.  However, it IS racist to ban alcohol sales to indigenous people.  What is more appropriate is to ban alcohol sales to the whole community, indigenous and non-indigenous people, and to enforce the total ban of alcohol to those communities.


This requires not just the community in question, but the whole of the region, preventing alcohol delivery from outside parties to those communities.


However, the problem extends also to the regional and capital cities.  The same philosophy applies.  Whilst the cities cannot have prohibition enforced, the treatment of the alcoholism as a disease can be delivered to all who need it, and enforced if necessary. 


Reverse racism as is currently practised does nothing to help the individual develop and learn personal responsibility.  True community support will work with every person in the community, without creating racial or any other divisions.


Responsible service of alcohol as is currently practised is totally irresponsible, and the number of teenagers binge drinking is testimony to that.  If alcohol sales were limited to only those of legal age, and in reasonable amounts, which at this stage are not prescribed, then a start could be made on resolving the problem. 


Hotel hours, alcohol content, genuine responsible service of alcohol and more will do a great deal to reduce the problems of excess alcohol consumption.


Education programs at school levels, showing the truth about the problems of alcohol excesses, including the car accidents, rape victims, medical problems and domestic violence, would serve as a start to reducing the problem in children.  In addition, branding alcoholism so that the children rejected it would have longer lasting impact. 


For older teenagers, the branding, in the ways that work with teenagers, is probably the only way through, in conjunction with the responsible service regulations.


For alcoholics and dependencies of every kind, genuine detoxification and total abstinence – enforced if necessary – are the only way back.  There are a number of new detoxification methods coming into mainstream now, and these need to be adopted urgently, across all societal strata.  While controversial, it cannot be denied that they are effective.  Whilst costly at international clinics, they could be adopted as hospital cost practices if adopted by national clinics here in Australia, for no more cost than a regular stay in hospital.


For genuine cases of alcoholism and drug addiction, true detoxification measures would include enforced rehabilitation centre attention, total abstinence from their choice of addictive substance, for at least three months, chemical testing for cleanliness, education while in rehabilitation in areas such as general health, diet, nutrition, personal development and goal setting, and leadership, so that when they re-enter society and their community circles in particular, they can play a leading role in raising the level of community health and welfare, instead of being a drain on it.


For those who say that it is an invasion of the rights of the individual to enforce rehabilitation onto drug users against their consent, take a moment and think of the lives of crime many lead to pay for the cost of their addictions, the families they destroy – starting with their own, and the havoc they may be wreaking in the community with robberies, and other crimes either to pay for the habit, or because of the induced states and behaviours because of the habit.  Who asked the permission of those other affected people to have their rights and lives violated by these individuals, addicted and under the control of a substance peddled by an entrepreneurial individual who knows that selling either alcohol or illicit drugs is a sound business operation for them?


A further abuse issue is the sniffing of glue, paint, petrol and a number of other substances.  In Central Australia, a number of fuel outlets sell petrol that has a foul smelling additive that prevents this practice.  There is no practical reason this cannot be adopted nationwide.  That would be the end of the petrol-sniffing problem.  The same principle can be used for other sniffing substances – this is not a difficult solution to think of, just a common-sense application of currently available technology.





Learn the truth about detoxification from drugs and alcohol.  It doesn’t happen with cosy chats; it takes abstinence and human system flushing, as well as with mental and emotional clearing.


Agitate for genuine detoxification centres in your community.  There is unlikely to be a community in Australia without a person with a drug or alcohol problem, so there needs to be a network of detoxification centres as well.  Hospital based centres are more likely to be more effective, especially when combined with staffing for enforced detention for clients when necessary.


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