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to think that those who object to alcoholics and drug addicts getting benefits, abu?

214 replies

StuckinTheMiddlewithYou · 24/04/2011 17:43

Alcoholism and drug addiction is not an endless Saturday night out, so much as a slow, painful decline into undignified misery and self-loathing. Most people who get into that situation are actually self-medicating an undiagnosed mental health problem.

If anything, the number of addicts in the country is a dreadful stain on the provision of mental health services.

OP posts:

SpringHeeledJack · 24/04/2011 17:46


what you said, OP


TethersEnd · 24/04/2011 17:47

YABU for having such a well thought out and rational OP Wink


annielouisa · 24/04/2011 17:51

I am sure you will be flamed but I do not think yabu. I have worked with a myriad of dual diagnosis service users who have servere mental health issues and have been self medicated leading to drug or alcohol dependency. The real change we have seen is a whole generation of damaged young men whose skunk cannabis use has caused severe mental health issues.


hermioneweasley · 24/04/2011 17:51

but the provision of benefits without any other intervention enables the addiction and all the negative spin offs associated. (speaking as somone with rampant alcoholism in the family). i haven't done the sums, but i'd bet it would be cheaper to offer addiction treatment, treatment for any mental health issues they are self medicating for (and that's no excuse either) and then withdraw benefits if individuals choose to continue destroying themselves. Even with addictions and mental illness you can still make choices.


gordyslovesheep · 24/04/2011 17:56

but you can't force people to get clean - if they don't make that choice themselves it's pointless going through rehab

and no OP - YANBU


StuckinTheMiddlewithYou · 24/04/2011 17:58

I think it's disgusting that people are litterally left to rot - all should be offered rehab treatment.

The comments of a certain politician just got my goat this week.

OP posts:

aliceliddell · 24/04/2011 17:58

We'd all 'bet it would be cheaper' hermione, but is it humane? effective? I too have alcoholism in my family, it's horrendous. tbh, I don't think benefits or lack of them would affect the addiction, because addiction is a disease. Taking benefits away wouldn't stop you coughing if you had TB; same principle IMO


hermioneweasley · 24/04/2011 18:03

Al - you think it's more 'humane' to keep funding the addiction? it is not as simple as comparing it to a physical/viral illness. it is part genetic, part behavioural, but it is not inevitable and it's absolving people of responsibility to imply they have no choice.


FabbyChic · 24/04/2011 18:05

Alcoholism and drug addition though are illnesses brought on by choice. Those with MS, depression, cancer etc., are not sick by choice.


hairylights · 24/04/2011 18:09

I disagree that skunk causes mwntal illness but it definitely doesnt do anything to help it and I tegu k it mat bring out latent issues.

It's not a very nice life as an alcoholic or addict.


StuckinTheMiddlewithYou · 24/04/2011 18:09

Fabby, many cancers are caused by lifestyle choices and many people who are alcoholics are self-medicating depression.

Illness is illness.

OP posts:

DillyDaydreaming · 24/04/2011 18:10

So where does lung cancer caused by 50 years of smoking fit in then Fabby?


hairylights · 24/04/2011 18:11

Bollocks fabby . Drug addicts and alcoholics don't choose that ... They become addicted but they don't choose it.

You oils argue that many people's lifestyle choices cause heart disease and cancer in the same way.


Itsjustafleshwound · 24/04/2011 18:11

The issue is that they are another vulnerable section of society who are just too easy to dismiss ....


beesimo · 24/04/2011 18:13

We could argue until the cows come home about whether it is better or not to give financial aid to addicts for THEIR sake but it is certainly better for OUR sake as a society.

Addicts are not capable of working until they start to work through their problems and become recovering addicts they will steal from houses, shops and mug people to get what they crave. Therefore it is much better for us on the whole that they are provided with the basic means to live rather than them take from the most vunerable especially street robbing off pensioners ect


Abr1de · 24/04/2011 18:13

My SIL is an alcoholic. I could lis the way her behaviour over the last 15 years has hurt us all but it would take too long.

Best thing for her would be to lose her benefits. Losing her job, home, husband and, this month, children, has not yet worked. Losing the wherewithal to drink might help save her life. She will die, I think, if she doesn't stop soon.

So, yes, I think it's reasonable to remove her benefits.


lynehamrose · 24/04/2011 18:15

Well it's a tricky one isn't it? Some illnesses and diseases are partly a result of poor choices - eg smoking and alcohol related illnesses. But as soon as you say that, you have a million people jumping up and down saying ' but some people are genetically more prone to eg alcoholism or mental illness which results in alcoholism'. And then on the other hand you have a million other people jumping and down and citing examples of other people who were dealt an equally bad luck hand, but haven't resorted to alcohol/ drugs/ obesity.

There are no easy solutions. But I certainly feel uneasy about cases where people are offered appropriate treatment but then revert to smoking or alcohol. There is a point where personal responsibility comes in


annielouisa · 24/04/2011 18:17

There is a lot of talk about choice, but many of the young men I supported began using skunk cannabis before they reached their teens and were virtual children and did not realise the long term consequences. I live in a very nice "Shire" and some of the boys were at very expensive fee paying schools so it is not just happening in deprieved areas. I think it is very dangerous to describe people as being sick by choice, as heart conditions could be blamed on diet, smoking, working in stressful environents. Cancers blamed on smoking, sun bathing, ect.


cory · 24/04/2011 18:19

I don't envy the person who would have to decide exactly whose health problems had been decided by lifestyle choices made over a lifetime:

was this cancer caused by diet or not?

was this person's descent into mental illness triggered by recreational use of cannabis or would it have happened anyway? (if it would have happened anyway, presumably they deserve treatment Hmm

is this person an alcoholic because he is mentally ill/abused/brought up by alcoholics or would he have a choice not to be an alcoholic despite his mental illness/traumatic memories/alcohol habit encouraged by his parents since age 9?

does a person (such as my charming MIL) who has managed to drink a substantial quantity of alcohol every day without getting addicted deserve medical treatment in old age while this should be denied someone who made the same decisions about drinking but was less lucky in its effects?

Of course treatment should be available, but what if the treatment doesn't work? If the patient is still mentally ill and therefore unable to stop drinking/living on the street/keeping a peculiar diet at the end of the treatment. Rehab is a great thing, but not everybody is cured and not everybody is cured forever.


StuckinTheMiddlewithYou · 24/04/2011 18:20

Very true Annie.

I can see a very horrible scenario one day in the future:

Imagine sitting in front of a doctor and having to justify why you deserve treatment for your illness.

OP posts:

hairylights · 24/04/2011 18:21

So we remove their benefits. Left untreated they end up on the streets and committing crime to feed their habits and then eventually dead. Vulnerable people dead on the streets. Nice.


Abr1de · 24/04/2011 18:26

I think my SIL would have to ask for help if she lost her benefit. I think it would help save her life and encourage her to get psychiatric help for her mental health problems. The welfare state is enabling her addiction at present.


alicethehorse · 24/04/2011 18:33

Abr1de you say your sister has not stopped drinking despite losing her job, home, husband and children.

Do you really think she'll stop if she gets her benefits removed?
Do you not think that might be a little naive on your part?

I suspect it is unlikely. She will more likely resort to other means to get the alcohol, and be in a worse position than she is now.


Abr1de · 24/04/2011 18:46

She can't drink if she has no money and she lives a long way from shops, etc. Or other places she could steal from. She has a mild disability that stops her walking far.

She would have to accept the help we have offered. Sitting at her GP's surgery is a detox kit and a letter accepting her for a month's intensive psychological therapy in a very good clinic. All she has to do is make one telephone call to the doctor to make an appointment. I sincerely believe that knowing the money has gone would be a useful nudge. We know her. Not all addicts are the same. I would try anything to save her life.


smallwhitecat · 24/04/2011 18:51

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