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Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Bleeding edge news and Tuesday blues

"I could use a hug about now"

With the APEC summit about to happen in Sydney and an opportunity for Australia to showcase its' position as a real economic and political player on the global stage the biggest news story over here at the moment is obviously going to be about a drug taking rugby player.

Last weekend Andrew Johns was arrested in London with an ecstasy tablet in his possession. That's right, one tablet. This is surprisingly convenient for him as if you get caught with one tablet in the UK you can say it's for personal use, if you get nicked with even only one more than that you get done for possession with intent to supply. A man of Johns' size, and apparently considerable experience with controlled substances, will probably want more than one pill to get his rocks off all night. Someone, possibly someone wearing a blue uniform, has done him a big favour and stepped on the rest.

Johns has pleaded that he has been battling bi-polar disorder and that he was using alcohol and drugs to self-medicate, something his doctor almost certainly told him not to do. For a start alcohol is a depressant and won't really work, the drinking experience would feel hollow and shallow and make the problem worse, especially if you drink predominantly filthy Australian beer.

As a second point MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, whilst effective immediately, with even casual use has the side-effect of a nasty comedown when it wears off. With continued use you get delayed comedowns that take place a day or two from the high. These exhibit themselves as a rather dark and tearful mood a few days later - commonly known as the Tuesday blues.

There are a couple of points here that I don't like:


  1. Johns' symptoms are as much a result of his self-medication as they are anything else. Given the length of time he's been using it will now be impossible to distinguish between these and the original depression. This doesn't matter however, the treatment will be the same.
  2. Successful intoxication of any kind requires knowledge. Johns should have done his homework before stealing the key to the medicine cabinet.
  3. Self-medication my arse. He did it to get wasted, just like the rest of us do.
  4. This isn't exactly news now is it.

A sportsman exhibiting risk-taking misbeaviour? How unexpected. Amazingly he also has a ready excuse designed to provoke sympathy rather than a backlash, gosh I couldn't have predicted that either. Channel 10 has a rather unfunny sketch comedy called The Wedge in which there is a character called Mark Warey, a generic sports star who is constantly apologising for his bad behaviour. If bad sports star behaviour and subsequent apology and sob-story is such a staple of the social cannon that it appears in a slightly sub-standard comedy show as a weekly event then this can't be considered particularly shocking or revealing no matter who that sportsman is.

In a country about to host one of the world's most significant economic summits where the government is using anti-terror legislation to monitor protestors, where the country's largest city has had the central district fenced off to prevent protestors being able to get within 500 metres of anyone significant, where the federal government has stepped in to Aboriginal communities and effectively rolled back previous native land title legislation for a 5 year period there are much weightier things to talk about that are directly in the public interest.