Why Iain Duncan Smith Is Wrong Again On Substance Misuse

There’s no shortage in the Tory party of people who could tell Iain Duncan Smith a few things about drug use.    David Cameron, Boris Jonson, George Osborne and Louise Mensch have all happily indulged in the past despite the heavy criminal sanctions that surround using drugs.  Working class people regularly face arrest, court appearances and even jail for doing the type of things Louise Mensch laughed off as little more than tabloid gossip recently.

But there is a world of difference between a bunch of braying toffs hoovering up lines of coke and the experience of working class people who are living with a  drug or alcohol dependency.

Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to strip benefits from those that Jobcentre staff diagnose as being drug or alcohol dependent shows a shocking ignorance of how addiction affects, and very often destroys, people lives.  As Kerry Katona (no doubt an avid reader of this blog) said on This Week last night, addiction occurs as a process of ever declining events, it is not a lifestyle choice.  No-one sets out to be a heroin addict or 24 hour a day drinker.  And few people wish to stay that way.

Most addicts, whether hooked on illegal drugs or even fags, know they should quit.  Many spend half their lives talking about it.  But the truth of addiction, particularly if you happen to be poor, is that there rarely comes a period of stability when that desire can be translated into action.  This is compounded by the woeful lack of treatment for both drug and alcohol dependency, which despite Iain Duncan Smith’s latest shambolic scheme, are currently being stripped to the bone by government cuts.

Even most smokers could understand that to make a major lifestyle change, which giving up an addiction represents, requires a degree of financial and emotional stability.  People don’t tend to give up fags in the middle of a messy divorce, or following a bereavement.  For the same reason, should someone end up on the streets, or even lose their job,  they are likely to increase the amount they drink or use drugs.  Increased stress, anxiety or depression makes people use more, not less, because substance misuse is a way of escaping from reality.

This is why you can’t bully people out of an addiction.  When someone is using drugs or alcohol chaotically then making their lives worse will not make them stop.  It is likely to do quite the opposite.  Stripping away someone’s benefits because they use drugs or alcohol will only increase the pressure and desperation they feel. Sex work, small time dealing,begging and petty crime will all be used to fill the financial gap, with all the additional chaos these things can bring.  Iain Duncan Smith’s Plans could not be more perfectly designed to drag people even further down the path to substance misuse, poverty, homelessness, exploitation and into the ever waiting arms of the criminal justice system.  You do not give someone a hand up by kicking them whilst they are down.  And even the most ruthless piece of Tory scum should be able to do the sums.  It’s far cheaper to keep someone on benefits than it is to lock them up.

People need a safe space to make the decision to quit and to enter the process of recovery.  That means stable housing, a support network and an income that is at least adequate to pay the bills and put food on the table.  It may even mean a maintenance dose of methadone, or even heroin.  It also usually means some form of treatment.  Like all mental health conditions, effective treatment varies from person to person, so that could mean therapy, residential rehab, peer support or even (recent comments acknowledged) one of the 12 Step provisions such as Alcoholic Anonymous.

Only when these things are in place does anyone stand a chance of getting better.  Knee jerk solutions like stripping benefit payments or enforced and unsuitable treatments will only lead people further down the road of addiction and despair.  Once again Iain Duncan Smith is laying the foundations for disaster by reveling in his ignorance of substance misuse.

The above pic is widely believed to be David Cameron off his tits at an illegal acid house party in the late 1980s.  The youtube video it is taken from is still available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5RLNdWQPps

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14 responses to “Why Iain Duncan Smith Is Wrong Again On Substance Misuse

  1. “And even the most ruthless piece of Tory scum should be able to do the sums. It’s far cheaper to keep someone on benefits than it is to lock them up.”

    “After “workfare” for unemployed people, the government wants to turn prisoners into factory workers—and pay them as little as £10 a week.

    Forty firms including Virgin, Marks & Spencer and DHL are set to benefit from justice secretary Kenneth Clarke’s latest “work experience” scheme.

    Clarke said, “There’s no reason why they shouldn’t help pay for themselves and the cost of the prison.”

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=28443

  2. Reichsminister Für Arbeit Iain Duncan Smith is one of the biggest cunts of the modern era.

  3. From the time I decided to change my life and become completely drug and alcohol free it took me 12 years,3 rehabs and a lot of pain,suffering,and personal tragedy. If it hadn’t been for the small kindnesses of a lot of public servants and the benefits system,I’d be dead.
    That is what this absolute cunt Herr Smith wants to happen to a lot of people following the same path I travelled….the one less travelled and unknown to this toff/aristo/gangster/bankster class of ConDem.
    Now I am 11 years clean and sober,happily married and life is good for me,compared to the living death I experienced for nearly 30 years.
    I had to be tough to survive it…even tougher to overcome it.
    So,if Gauleiter Schmidt and his bully-boys want to go to war with societiy’s disadvantaged,vulnerable,downtrodden and poor,fair enough. He’ll have the likes of me to deal with…and I’m harder than he can imagine.
    “No pasaran”,you fuckwit,No Idea Schmidt.

  4. As the original article states, for most people, drug or alcohol dependency is not a lifestyle choice. Those people need help to bring stability into their lives so they can face their addiction with all the support that is available.
    However, there is another side to the coin; some (and they are in the minority) do make this lifestyle choice. I know a couple who are both alcohol dependent, neither would want to change this, they are happy as they are. As part of their benefits package, they are both eligible for a car under the motability scheme. How this has been allowed to happen I have no idea, but to me it is wrong. For this couple, the threat of removing their benefits may be the catalyst they need in order for them to re-evaluate their choice. Because for them, it is a choice. Knowing both of them as I do, I doubt they would turn to crime to feed their alcoholism.
    My own father was drug dependent, only conquering his addiction after going ‘cold turkey’ whilst serving a prison sentence. Whilst he has never returned to the hard drugs, he still spends his time smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol, mainly due to the fact he has an addictive personality. If his benefits were removed, I suspect he would return to a life of crime. That’s the type of person he is.
    Drug and alcohol addiction is a multi-faceted issue and there will be no ‘fix all solution’. We shouldn’t completely discount the idea of removing benefits, because for some it may work. It should be used as one of many measures to help people who find themselves in this situation. Having said that, God help everyone if the decision as to what help/sanctions people receive is left in the hands of faceless pen-pushers sitting in the DWP.

  5. they don’t give people a motability car just because they have a drink problem

    for kind of obvious reasons

  6. GonzoLubitsch

    They don’t want people to get off drugs. They don’t want higher employment. They want a desperate, starving populace because they know that people will only accept the 3rd world/pre-Victorian working conditions, rights & pay that will enable us to ‘compete economically’ with China etc when we are SO hungry & desperate that we will accept anything.

    • You are spot on Gonzo…thats exactly what the corporate fat cats want…and that is exactly who controls the strings of our puppet ministers in this pretend democracy. Which is why we are seeing such a raft of shit and heartless policies.

  7. Michelle, do you think the same about smokers? Remove their benefits and they will stop smoking? If people are addicted to whatever substance or non-substance (eg gambling), they need support and compassion and help to get to the causes of the addiction. I used to work in the field of addictions and it cuts across all walks of life. Why is it the poor addicts should have their benefits stopped to ‘make them wake up and see the light’? Do you advocate the removal of assets from the wealthy addicts in the same way? If not, why not?
    Will you be saying the same thing when there is an increase in burglaries/robberies in your area? This is what desperate addicts turn to to feed their addictions.

  8. Well said, on the button. I’m curious to know what the remarks about AA where since I have a good deal to say on that subject. I worked with homeless people then began to specialise in addiction, mental health and offending and qualified as a therapist in 1994. In total my experience covers nearly thirty years. I have also had a problem of severe alcohol dependency. So I am not without some knowledge in this area.

    Check out my blog http://alextalbot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/wecome-to-london-olympics-care-of-union.html

  9. Michelle you are a troll.
    Alex Talbot …?
    This Claggeron needs combating.
    Don’t you get that?
    Society prepares the crime. Then criminals commit the crime.
    If you actually understood anarchy,you’d understand THAT.

  10. I’ll tell you how fuckin thick these pricks are, if you are mandated to A.A or N.A who although they deny it ARE a quasi religious, spiritual organisation you just invoke the human rights act. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion are covered so if that prick Smith thinks he can impose a sentence of sitting around doing God because that IS what A.A does, I know, tell him to go and get fucked and take him to court.
    by the way what about the millions addicted to benzodiazepine tranquillizers and antidepressants which are as any addiction specialist will tell you far harder to get off than any street drug or alcohol.

    • And what about the fact that we have an embryonic Nazi ‘government’ intent on addicting every thick twat they can find to their vile and nasty propaganda? Addicted to violence. Addicted to shit food. Addicted to Big Bidness. Addicted to nonsense. Addicted to fear.
      The very word ‘addicted’ is a cover for a host of Capitalism’s social ills.

  11. power money and cruelty(rage) are also addictions, as is fear and control in my opinion. yeah there is no words i know to describe the insanity of this policy, except to agree that its never ever been about what it looks like it is. layers of scheming twisted greedy crafty layer upon spiteful vicious corrupted sick inhumane layer of a lying inhumane onion fed by legal looters of our system. with respect, the word social is too generous for these fascists.
    keep on fighting it. only show in town.

  12. The Tory government are using a very disturbing tactic ‘divide and conquer’ They themselves are discriminating against those who are disabled, unemployed, addicts even those under 25. They are firing up everyone in this country to discriminate against those who are vulnerable. You cannot stop discrimination coz it happens due to lack of understanding and fear. The government should be addressing the fact that they signed us up to europe. We are only a small country, there arent enough jobs, homes, benefits, NHS for everyone coming into our country, any idiot can see that. None of us even got to vote on what they decided, but this is where their real problem lies, not the british public who the politicians have repeatedly let down year after year.
    In any circumstances of addiction it is not the persons choice. There are many reasons as to why a person may become addicted and many circumstances are due to problems in their background. The fact is there are insufficient social services, education,mental health, supportive services because they have all been cut by government and have been completely insufficient for many years. You cannot wave a magic wand and wipe out addiction , unemployment when the reason why they are so rampant is because the government hasnt been running this country properly for years. They need to learn, what you sow is what you reap so dont pass the buck onto the british public!

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