There is a hilarious story on the front page of the local paper this week which nicely illustrates the complete inadequacy of Manx government drug policy. It also drops clues about the collaboration between police, courts and supposedly independent advice agencies which funds nice little earners for faith-based therapy scams. For some reason, the full story has not made it to the newspaper website so I must briefly outline it here.
A reporter was present in court when a man found in possession of cannabis with an estimated street value of just £1.59 was sentenced to a six month probation order and compulsory ‘supervision and support’ from what the Manx government still describes as a drug and alcohol team (with the inference that employees of this entity have expertise in substance abuse). In effect, an innocent bloke had the temerity to treat the minor everyday stresses of life with the odd joint so now has a criminal record, and in future either suffers regular interference from pig-ignorant fundamentalist prod-noses or gets a worse criminal record.
Well, certainly not because the Manx court system is trying to do what lay people would understand as its job, i.e. to deal with crime; frankly, it rarely (if ever) deals with real criminals anyway.
For example, in another recent case a woman caught stealing logs and coal to stay warm got a five week prison sentence (which I suppose is one way to deal with the government’s inability to help poor people with their heating needs) plus a £625 fine for another offence. As a veteran commentator on Manx inequality remarked, if the woman cannot afford a bag of coal, how the hell is she supposed to ‘magic up’ £625 to pay off a fine?
And certainly not because anybody involved in the Manx court or social services either understands or knows how to identify or deal with genuine substance abuse (rather than whip up a moral panic).
A body currently employed by government to interfere with any individual who the police (in order to beef up underwhelming prosecution cases) can identify as having used alcohol regularly (or an illegal or semi-legal substance ever) notoriously only enjoys that contract because of common evangelical links between their staff and others in key government positions. Reports back from their reluctant ‘clients’ indicate that these ‘therapists’ could be considered an absolute joke by any moderately street-wise adolescent if they did not also have the power to completely screw over any victim referred to them.
Yes, there are serious dependency and abuse problems to be dealt with here, but we need to stop the abusers, not supply them with a steady flow of fresh victims.
I have maintained for years that the essential difference between Jesus and heroin is that even the most shameless smack dealer would never dare suggest his goods can offer life after death, and even the dumbest junkie would not believe him.
Additionally, we really must deal with the deep-seated and irrational need of hardcore prod-noses to offer one useless ‘therapy’ after another: psychological basket-cases who spend their lives trying to obtain life or death powers over the innocent, dreaming up ever more bizarre scams and networking with any fellows in delusion with authority to grant them government funds.
Government employees who chatter away and howl at walls on Sunday mornings are not a health hazard. Government employees who claim authority from their imaginary invisible friend to spend public funds on bogus therapies for imaginary problems – and ruin real lives in doing so – quite definitely are.