Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My drug Hell

An Auckland advertising agency has apologised for sending a letter to hundreds of people, including Prime Minister John Key, inviting them to try the drug P. Attached to each letter was a bag of rock salt. The agency, CreativeBank, said it was acting in support of the Stellar Trust and its anti-drug campaign.
Is it just me, or does anyone else have difficulty in seeing what is the problem here? I can see so many possibilities. For a start, it is not P. It is rock salt. You can tell right away that this is a discourse between middle-class wankers: they use rock salt. Sprinkle that on your rocket, as they say in the Remuera Ghetto.

Then there is the "crudely written" (a bit rich that one, coming from the Herald) message, with its obvious suggestion that people who take drugs are semi-literate and possibly lower-class: "don't know if u ever tried P before but lots of Kiwis have and they cant get enough of it. its such awesomly mind-blowing stuff!" Awesome. My drug hell: I was so addicted, I had to sell my copy of Fowler's Modern English Usage.

Then there is the confused message: "on the street this much P is worth $1000!!". Like, which street, dude? On Paratai Drive, maybe, but there are some girls at St Cuths who will cut you a really good deal. But what's your problem? It would be so easy to make P cheaper: just make it legal.

So, the problem; what is it?
One recipient, who did not want to be named, said: "It's one thing to have a charity and try to push what he's trying to push but that's disgusting." The man said his firm would no longer be dealing with CreativeBank and had filed a complaint with police.
Let's turn the irony right down low now and ask ourselves, in all sincerity, WTF does this mean? How is this bag of salt with a message written by a copywriter trying to sound cool disgusting? Lame, yes; disgusting, no. What will the Police do with this complaint - divert all cars and arrest the admen for being prattish in a built-up area? Officer, they work in advertising: they are all like that.

But then, suddenly, it all becomes clear: "In his apology, Mr Marinkovich said the letter was sent to support the Stellar Trust's campaign, A P Free New Zealand." So, you might ask, what is wrong with the Associated Press? No, you fool, look: it's the Stellar Trust. That is what it is all about - it is the Stellar Trust getting high on hysteria (like they did last summer).

In case you are unfamiliar with the Stellar Trust, please allow me to introduce you. The Stellar Trust is fighting the war against P. Among its arsenal of weapons is cake. But its main activity is getting terribly worked up. It asks questions such as is my child using? Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of meth use in teens :
Increased level of self confidence and euphoria
“Wired”, restless, excitable and anxious
Noticeable change in sleeping patterns
Irritability or aggressiveness
Drastic mood swings
Dizziness or confusion, disconnected chatter
Hanging out with a different group of friends
Negative change in appearance, greasy hair, skin sores
Change in attire, clothes that highlight/advertise/portray drug use
Deteriorating relationship with family
Noticeable mood swings, hostility or abusive behaviour
Chronic fatigue, loss of interest in favourite activities, hobbies, sports
School problems – slipping scores, truancy
Yes, your child is a teenager.

You might meet a P user, but not know what signs to look for. It is important to note that some of the symptoms are not confined to P users: excessive excitation, excessive talking, false sense of confidence and power, delusions of grandeur, aggressive and violent behaviour - these apply as much to Paul Holmes as to Millie Elder.

On the other hand, P is better than Pot: "Note that if teens are using marijuana before trying meth, the changes you observe might (at first) seem positive. They may go from being negative and unmotivated to self-confident, energetic and positive. They may begin to complete schoolwork and jobs around the house without their previous habit of complaining;"

If you want to set up your own P lab, here are the things you will need. And remember, if you want a cigarette, smoke outside. You don't want to be in breach of the Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act 2003.

One could go on, but this sort of thing is what happens when you surrender your drugs policy to the Rotary Club of Auckland East.
This deceptive and very addictive drug has no social boundaries. It is the modern day plague causing major damage throughout all layers of our society. Courts are seeing a major increase in violent crime as a consequence of P usage.

The resulting destruction in the family unit causes a domino effect on the most innocent of victims, our children. They are becoming collateral damage of a scourge, the likes of which the world has never seen.

The domino effect flows onto our workers striking at the heart of our nation’s productivity with the consequences of this loss of productivity and social damage thought to run into billions per year, a cost we all ultimately pay for.

The trust aims to foster a change in New Zealand society’s attitude and behaviour towards the drug P – for the public to say “Enough – usage of P must stop!”
On the other hand, the public might read all this and say "where can we get some?" At least we would get some housework done.

You see, the Menace of P is something the Rotary Club of Auckland East apprehends only dimly. I am down with the cool kids, so I will let you, gentle reader, in on the secret. Keep this to yourself: P is really quite nice. It makes you bright-eyed and bushy tailed, sociable and busy. Loads of people take it without any ill effects. If I could attach some P to this post and send it to you, I would get into an awful lot of trouble. But you might have an awful lot of fun.

I could tell about that time I was at the Schooner; Matthew Crawley was playing and everybody was wearing knitwear, so it was like any other night. And Helen said she and her friends were going to K for some P (K is what Radio New Zealand announcers call Karangahape Road) and would I like to come. And I said I was quite tired and would go home for a nice cup of tea. Why are all my drug anecdotes like that?

Unfortunately, it's all fun and games until somebody loses a personal fortune. As the Rotary Club says, P knows no social boundaries; it could not be confined to Bohemian types. P spread like wildfire, from the centres of our cities to the suburbs. There it was consumed by people who never had been to art school. The results were disastrous. If the stories told in the Herald on Sunday are to be believed (and why should they not?) the victims were mostly property developers. They had big houses on the Shore with lots of outdoor lighting and infinity pools. They lost it all. This was a Bad Thing, since the development of property is crucial to New Zealand's economy; on the other hand, if you want a big tacky house, now is the time to buy.

So, there you have it. P is a Menace, a Scourge, a Domino Effect. But only for les nouveaux riches. People who read poetry and listen to Cat Power have no problem. One day this will be proven by scientific methods, but remember you read it here first. No wonder the Rotary Cub of Auckland East is worried.


Robyn said...

A few years ago, I was at SPQR one night with some friends. Some of them went off to the K to get some P, leaving me with a lot of people I didn't know really well. The P-getters were taking ages and I wasn't enjoying hanging around with the others, so I went home and listened to the new Sleater-Kinney CD I'd bought earlier that day.

Russell Brown said...

Gawd. The amateurish boo-boo of the P mail-out appears basically in line with the tone of all the Stellar Trust's communications.

I particularly like the use of capital letters on the website, so that advisory board member Pauline Gardiner becomes an Experienced Drug Educator. Which is clearly Very Important.

This style appears popular with the trust's web designer, Strobe Net NZ, which describes another client's website like this: "The website includes Image Galleries, A shopping Cart, Recipes... all fully mananged by the client."

The standard of copy on the site is generally poor, which may be seen as surprising, given that the trustees on its advisory board are "persons of significant business profile and acumen".

I did wonder why they hadn't included on the board someone with professional qualifications and experience in treating drug problems. But then I realised it was obvious: none of them are members of the Rotary Club of East Auckland.

Anonymous said...

The trust also sent a book on cooking with chocolate to MPs' offices, along with the $150-odd invoice.

The fact the definition for "parliamentary business" currently includes gifts and/or raffles (and budgets can therefore cover said gifts/raffles), has seen a number of trusts lobby members' pretty hard: they are, after all, potential cash cows.

The rather aggressive stance Stellar took wasn't looked upon very fondly. An email was sent to all members' offices advising them of their legal rights, something to the effect of "if you receive by mail any unsolicited gift and related demand for money, you are not legally obliged to either pay for, or return, the gift."