Apologies for the recent quiet.

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to thank so many of you for hanging with us over the months that we have not been posting. The website is way over due for a makeover which will get done this year, and more updates are needed with our information as the drugs discourse and health, changes over time etc.

Just a word to say we are still here, personal circumstances have made attention to the blog/site difficult but we are back and have read all your comments, and when we update our pages we will incorporate the most commonly asked questions into our write-ups.

Thanks again for hanging around, we are here and will start attending to your comments over the coming weeks.

In solidarity,

The (very small) BP Crew

Drug Consumption Rooms

Here is a video I just wanted to share with you all, it was made in the UK by one of our treasured harm reduction /drug workers Phillipe Bonnet in Birmingham and he presents a very honest (and difficult to watch at times) account of why we need drug consumption rooms all across the world – particularly in the UK today. We have yet to open such a facility in the UK -it makes no sense to shy away from such a simple, straightforward solution. Our pal Neil Hunt talks about cost and why DCR’s are not that expensive and that they could hook onto needle exchanges as they already appear. Why not? How much longer can we look the other way when we have the solution in our very hands -solutions with the evidence base to back it up. As Dr Judith Yates in the film says “A simple intervention like this early on, can prevent all this damage later on”.

A word from the film-makers – Published on 23 Oct 2012

This Documentary invites the audience to see the harsh reality of ‘street injecting’ drug users in the UK’s second city Birmingham. The presenter Philippe Bonnet explores this subject by interviewing outreach workers, health care professionals and current and ex drug-users. The film shows how other countries around the world have found a solution to this and as a result have reduced harms and costs associated with this phenomenon and ultimately helped drug users access treatment and begin their recovery.

 

Recovery In The Bin – 18 Principles

Readers, check out these folk at ‘Recovery In The Bin’ and their ’18 Key Principles’ Manifesto, agreed and adopted by group members on 6th February 2015. I think the community of people in treatment could take a lot from this -when we make our own manifesto against…let’s see…I know! Against the ‘Trafficking of People who Use Drugs inside and outside the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Sector’! 

Take it away comrades in arms; 

We oppose the ways in which the concept of ‘recovery’ has been colonised by mental health services, commissioners and policy makers.

  • We believe the growing development of this form of the ‘Recovery Model’ is a symptom of neoliberalism, and capitalism is the crisis! Many of us will never be able to ‘recover’ living under these intolerable social and economic conditions, due to the effects of social and economic circumstances such as poor housing, poverty, stigma, racism, sexism, unreasonable work expectations, and countless other barriers.
  • We believe “UnRecovered” is a valid and legitimate self-definition, and we emphasise its political and social contrast to “Recovered”. This doesn’t mean we want to remain ‘unwell’ or ‘ill’, but that we reject the new neoliberal intrusion on the word ‘recovery’ that has been redefined, and taken over by market forces, humiliating treatment techniques and atomising outcome measurements.
  • We are critical of tools such as “Recovery Stars” as a means of measuring ‘progress’ as they represent a narrow & judgemental view of wellness and self-definition. We do not believe outcome measures are a helpful way to steer policy, techniques or services towards helping people cope with mental distress
  • We believe that mental health services are using ‘recovery’ ideology to mask greater coercion. For example, the claim that Community Treatment Orders are imposed as a “step towards recovery”.
  • We demand that no one is put under unnecessary pressure or unreasonable expectations to ‘recover’ by mental health services. For example, being discharged too soon or being pushed into inappropriate employment.
  • We object to therapeutic techniques like ‘mindfulness’ and “positive thinking” being used to pacify patients and stifle collective dissent.
  • We propose to spread awareness of how neoliberalism and market forces shape the way mental health ‘recovery’ is planned and delivered by services, including those within the voluntary sector.
  • We want a robust ‘Social Model of Madness & Distress’, from the left of politics, placing mental health within the context of the wider class struggle. We know from experience and evidence that capitalism and social inequality can be bad for your mental health.
  • We demand an immediate halt to the erosion of the welfare state, an end to benefits cuts, delays and sanctions, and the abolishment of ‘Work Capability Assessments’ & ‘Workfare’, which are both unfit for purpose. As a consequence of austerity, people are killing themselves, and policy-makers must be held to account.
  • We want genuine non-medicalised alternatives, like Open Dialogue and Soteria type houses to be given far greater credence, and sufficient funding, in order to be planned & delivered effectively. (No half measures, redistribution of resources from traditional MH services if necessary).
  • We demand the immediate fair redistribution of the country’s wealth, and that all capital for military/nuclear purposes is redirected to progressive User-Led Community/Social Care mental health services.
  • We need a broader range of Survivor narratives to be recognised, honoured, respected and promoted that include an understanding of the difficulties and struggles that people face every day when unable to ‘recover’, not just ‘successful recovery’ type stories.
  • We oppose how ‘Peer Support Workers’ are now expected to have acceptable ‘recovery stories’ that entail gratuitous self-exploration, and versions of ‘successful recovery’ fulfilling expectations, yet no such job requirements are expected of other workers in the mental health sector.
  • We refuse to feel compelled to tell our ‘stories’, in order to be validated, whether as Peer Support Workers, Activists, Campaigners and/or Academics. We believe being made to feel like you have to tell your ‘story’ to justify your experience is a form of disempowerment, under the guise of empowerment.
  • We are opposed to “Recovery Colleges” and their establishment, as a cheap alternative to more effective services. Their course contents fall short of being ‘evidence based’, and fail to lead to academic accreditation, recognised by employers.
  • We believe that there are core principles of ‘recovery’ that are worth saving, and that the colonisation of ‘recovery’ undermines those principles, which have hitherto championed autonomy and self-determination. These principles cannot be found in a one size fits all technique, or calibrated by an outcome measure. We also believe that autonomy and self-determination, as we are social beings, can only be attained through collective struggle rather than through individualistic striving and aspiration.
  • We demand that an independent enquiry is commissioned into the so-called ‘Recovery Model’ and associated ideology that it stems from
  • We call for our fellow mental health Survivors and allies to adopt our principles, and join us in campaigning against this new ‘recovery’ ideology by non-violent protest. We know our views about ‘recovery’ will be controversial, and used by supporters of the ideologies behind ‘recovery’ colonisation to try to divide us. However, we seek to balance the protection of existing services valued by Survivors with agitation for fundamental change.

recovery in the bin.org

Source: 18 Principles

Junkie Literature

BP is starting a new segment on our site -something we think you will enjoy. The good ol’ internet has thrown up some real gems in the world of the arts; old videos and films we all thought lost forever, wonderful artistic surprises we never believed we would even see let alone to be able to keep a copy safe on our own laptops. For this new BP segment, we hope to collect writers /poets and authors from our own drug culture in the best format possible, and preferably recorded reading their work, in their own voice. What a treat! The chance to share some of our old favourites and inform a new generation of listeners, or just to warm the fuzzy hearts of us oldies.

The first 2 we have for you are pretty special, whether you are a fan or not; both ground-breakers for the invention of the stream of consciousness style of writing, the subject matter raw, real and like nothing before it, they both managed to put  their pens straight onto the pulse of a new generation.

And finally, these guys discussed drugs and philosophy with such relish, such passion, such singularity -it managed to expel upon an era of incredible conservatism,  a spiky new vocabulary for an entire generation, fortunately somewhat protected by the elite position of the untouchable befalling the avante-garde. These guys could take drugs, write books, and tell the world to fuck off and still be considered an artist. It should shame us today; when our society is now so quick to judge, to exclude, to label, to diminish those who seek an alternative road. When one’s art forces one to take the big risks in the search of furthering answers, in search of surfaces real and unreal looming to carry you on ahead, despite the deep fissues always risking to drive apart the roads you thought would lead you back home…
Why must we denigrate those who don’t / can’t choose ‘this life’ this lie we all know is on offer to the democratic masses? We all smell a rat, don’t we?

So, back to our 1st two contenders…

William Burroughs reads his first novel, Junky, to you

 

Jack Kerouac On the Road – The complete audiobook

When the book was originally released, The New York Times hailed it as “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat,’ and whose principal avatar he is.”[1] In 1998, the Modern Library ranked On the Road 55th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. That’s quite something, is it not? Pick your spot, sit back and get ready -for you are finally going on the road with Jack…

Click here for the rest…

Cocaine -How Do You Take Yours?

This was no. 2 in our series; How Do You Take Yours? We looked at Cocaine, and asked the people that used it, how they preferred taking it and why, and gave some useful harm reduction tips for everyone!

This BP article was brought to you by A&E Lifestyles, a BP partnership in drug taking & drug investigating!

While the BP ‘knowledge’ tends to come from hundreds of combined years of experience of opiate, coca use and loads of pharmaceuticals (and that’s just the crew!), these days, drug taking for the enthusiast is changing. It’s broadening out, it’s becoming consumer savvy, it’s becoming mainstream. Nowadays, we aren’t so attached to one drug anymore, it’s a pill for this, then a smoke for that, then a whole pharmacopoeia of drugs for the come downs. We are learning how to use our drugs, we want to know more about them and what they do and what are the safest ways of taking them. The West has created a pill culture – and drugs are out there by the bucket load. This issue, BP looks at cocaine – and A&E are asking you “How do you take your coke?”

Freebase Cocaine

freebase -not the same as crack…

Cocaine is used by such a diverse group of people, probably because it lends itself to being snorted, smoked, injected, freebased, chased,  chipped, drunk, or blown up an orifice somewhere,  and as such, many of us will have a preference of our own. A (of A&E Lifestyles prefers to have it via injection and mixed with brown in a speedball, while E prefers to have the coke first, then the brown!). The emergence of crack has added more dimensions to what the phrase ‘using coke’ actually means. But as anyone who’s had a coke habit will tell you, no matter which way you take it, consistent, regular use of coke/crack can lead to a whole host of problems – the combo of no food, sleep, come down drugs and paranoia  can lead to some serious shit , compounded by the potential health problems due to the method by which it’s administered. A&E spoke to a few coke fiends to get their views on using it their way and have collected some good harm reduction tips to remember – whichever way you use it.  (This focuses on cocaine in all its guises except crack -although we do look at freebase and smoking tips -crack kinda needs its own article these days!

To see the rest of the article, click here…

Dealer’s Discuss

Articles from BP’s back catalogue….

Here’s a chat with a few of the people doing the biz, day in and day out, they haggle and hassle (and we cough up and complain)…But by and large, dealer’s are just like us, most are just trying to keep their own habits going without resorting to ‘other methods’. Can’t blame them. Dealer’s don’t sit out the front of schools tempting kiddies, they rarely want to sell to a newbie. In today’s world of prohibition and drug habits, dealing to keep your own head above water, is a way of managing day to day. It is the result of drug laws that leave all our drugs to the influences of the black-market. Some dealer’s are a nightmare, some violent, some a complete rip-off. BP says; if you are going to deal drugs -have compassion, take pride, do your best to give a clean product and treat your customers with respect. It shouldn’t have to get down and dirty. See our ‘Dealers Certificate’ and sign up to it. Let’s make the best of it and treat each other well; we are all struggling out there.

 

Martin (does heroin & crack):

“I wouldn’t call myself a dealer personally, and this very important to me; whether it’s the profiteering aspect or the pushy aspect, to me it makes a difference. I feel I am providing a service – most of my clients are middle class,  I see them twice a day, the same faces; My employers you could call business men or drug dealers, but again, its supply and demand. We don’t push drugs onto other people, we don’t go looking for new converts.

I guess I do it out of choice – it suits my lifestyle,  I’m paid a salary – I see the guy at the end of the day and get paid up. It doesn’t work on a commission basis like some setups. I use drugs myself so naturally it keeps my habit looked after. I look at it as a proper job, one has to be professional, it entails a hell of a lot from you and the law aspect is also on your mind. Yet sometimes one reaps the benefits and hits the highs, and meets some amazing people along the way. The myth of the user / dealer’s relationship is complex – discovering all the layers within each customer as you get to see them day after day in all manner of situations…It can be tough job.”

To see the rest of the article click here….

Drug Induced Seizures -an Update

health-logo

(from BP Issue 9 but now with new updates as of Nov 2015)

Many BP readers will have already witnessed the distressing sight of someone having a seizure, or you may have even experienced one yourself. It can be frightening to watch, exhausting to go through and unfortunately, people can often make the situation worse by not knowing how to deal with seizures properly, leaving everyone concerned thoroughly freaked out.

Most people associate seizures with having epilepsy and while it is certainly true to say that seizures (there are over 40 different types) are a symptom of having epilepsy, you don’t have to have epilepsy, to have a seizure. Anyone who has seen someone have a cocaine or alcohol induced seizure can attest to that.

Drug Induced:

For those of us who use drugs, particularly those of us who binge use or use to excess, seizures are known to occur for a few reasons. Sometimes they happen just before or as someone is overdosing, (i.e a seizure occurring just in the minutes before someone actually lapses into an overdose) or through withdrawing from a drug/s (i.e benzos, alcohol) or, they are a (rather intense) way of telling us that we have been pushing our bodies too hard for too long (i.e cocaine/stimulant related) and we can have a seizure which although is not an overdose -it is an overdose in the sense that you have reached the threshold in what your body can tolerate -and it is telling you -“Enough! My body has now gone into toxic overload!”. Basically, seizures occur when our systems have reached this point of toxicity or overload, even if the culprit drug is ecstasy, acid or heroin -when we tend to think of the most common culprits as stimulants and alcohol and benzodiazepines and barbituates.

 Know Your Limit

Everyone however, has what is called a ‘seizure threshold’, a certain sensitivity to seizures which means that anyone can experience one given the right conditions – such as excess use of alcohol, drug withdrawal, toxicity, dramatic metabolism changes etc. With 1 in 20 people having experienced a seizure at some stage in their lives, amongst drug users that rate increases rather dramatically, so its important that we learn something about seizures, their ‘triggers’ as well as their treatment.

It can be all too common to put the odd re-occurring seizure down to ‘the drugs I’m taking’ or to find that our medical investigations have not been followed up due to the pressures of everyday life and the difficulty embarking on consistent/stable medical care when you have other things on your mind like survival. But it’s important to remember that seizures can be very serious, they are hard work for the body and the brain in particular and, depending on where you are when you have your seizure, or if you end up having multiple seizures, you can be left in a dangerous or vulnerable situation.

If you are affected by seizures, if you have had more than 2 at once or 2 or more during the last year, or if it takes you more than a day to recover, or if your seizures start to occur regularly, it is essential you seek medical advice – at least to rule out any underlying causes such as infection, virus’s, tumors etc. You might have developed epilepsy in which you need medication, or there may be an underlying medical condition that has nothing to do with your drug use. You need to know these answers so you can take the right action.

To read the rest of this interesting and updated article, click here. Comments always welcome

https://blackpoppymag.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1166&action=edit

The UK’s Labour Party has a sad, brief word to say about drugs…

 This was actually quoted straight out of the UK Labour Party Manifesto this week, the only mention of drugs in the whole thing, mind you…very depressing. It sounds like a last minute, late at night before the final draft of the manifesto is due in to head office… “Oh fuck, we forgot to put something about drugs -shit, ummm, lemme just…umm, Ill just put something like,..’We know drug addiction continues to be a major cause of crime'” person 2 says “Just don’t forget to mention legal highs being illegal!'”

 

“We know drug addiction continues to be a major cause of crime. We will ensure

drug treatment services focus on the root causes of addiction, with proper

integration between health, police and local authorities in the commissioning of

treatment. And we will ban the sale and distribution of dangerous psychoactive

substances, so called ‘legal highs’.”

 

 

Another Drug Ban Alert

Friends, lookout, the Government has banned a few more psychoactives, take note, they are class A’s.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2014 classifies:

  • the synthetic opioid AH-7921 as a Class A drug
  • the LSD-related compounds commonly known as ALD-52, AL-LAD, ETH-LAD, PRO-LAD and LSZ as Class A drugs,
  • the compounds captured by the extended definition of tryptamines, which now include compounds commonly known as AMT and 5-MeO-DALT, as Class A drugs.

The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment) (No. 3) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2014 amends the Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order 2001 to “designate” the synthetic opioid AH-7921, the LSD-related compounds and the compounds captured by the extended definition of tryptamines as controlled drugs to which section 7(4) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 applies, because they have no recognised medicinal or legitimate uses outside of research. This means that it is unlawful to possess, supply, produce, import or export these drugs except under a Home Office licence for research or “other special purpose”.

The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment No. 3) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2014 (“the 2014 Regulations”) amend the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (“the 2001 Regulations”) to add the synthetic opioid AH-7921, the named LSD-related compounds and the compounds captured by the extended definition of tryptamines to Schedule 1. The 2014 Regulations also reschedules 4-Hydroxy-n-butyric acid (GHB) from Schedule 4 to Schedule 2 to the 2001 Regulations. GHB is not being reclassified.

The codes for recording drug offences relating to these substances by the police and the courts for statistical purposes within the Home Office Recorded Crime and Ministry of Justice Court Appearance Database (CAD) – which includes cautions – are set out in Annex A. – see link above for full details.

RELEASE gives us some much needed clarity interpreting the recent UK governments report on drugs

Head of legal services at Release Kirstie Douse explains the state of illicit drug taking in the UK on Sky News Tonight and does a great job. Nice one Kirstie – RELEASE does it again – clear, concise, succinct, evidence based. We have to give praise and thanks to Niamh Eastwood who is the current boss woman at RELEASE and has brought the organisation on in leaps and bounds. BP attended RELEASE  several times over the last month and has been blown away by the exceptional work, the terrific working relationships, the respect RELEASE continues to engender across not just the UK but the world, and our own gary sutton, who still heads up RELEASE’S  excellent drugs helpline – possibly one of the last bastions in the UK where, drugs, law and human rights intersect directly across the lives and futures of people who use drugs. Thanks to all the team at RELEASE for some really exceptional work. Thank God you are on our side! If you can – please don’t forget to donate to RELEASE – I can tell you they work extremely hard for the issues that affect the drug using community and have done so since 1968 – possibly one of the longest running drug law and human rights charity’s in the world.

NOTE: If you have been busted for drugs – and you think that the statements the police are giving/guiding the jury with are incorrect – that your ounce of grass is indeed for personal use not for sale, that your new car was bought from your own money not drug money, that the 8 ball of crack and few bags of heroin is for your own personal habit and is not a sign of you being some drug king pin or runner for the ‘man’ – get your lawyer to ring RELEASE and ask for their very experienced ‘Drug Expert Witness’ to analyse the police reports and give the jury and judge an honest, considered and extremely experienced look at what the evidence really means. It could be the difference between being locked up for years  or going home to your kids after court.

Don’t forget – call the RELEASE drugs helpline if you are having any issues, questions or problems with drug use, drug treatment, drug testing -regarding yourself or a loved one. BP’s Erin O’Mara is currently volunteering there every Thursday.

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