Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mental illness soars in UK's cannabis hotspots

I think that the claims below are probably broadly right but we must not discount that Britain has more and more blacks and that they tend to live in certain areas, that they are often drug users and that they are more prone to mental illness. These results should really be broken out by race for us to be sure of what is going on. It could just be that we are seeing nothing more than an effect of Britain's ever-increasing immigrant population

The devastating effects of skunk cannabis on the nation's mental health are revealed here for the first time, showing where the drug has hit hardest around the country. Some areas have suffered a tenfold increase in people mentally ill from using the drug. Nationally, skunk smokers are ending up ill in hospital in record numbers, with admissions soaring 73 per cent. The number of adults recorded as suffering mental illness as a result of cannabis use has risen sharply from 430 in 1996 to 743 in 2006. The government data shows how the damaging effects of the drug have swept across England. Hospital hotspots for cannabis abuse include Manchester, London, Cheshire and Merseyside.

And, as the debate over the drug's dangers continues, figures released by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Abuse (NTA) show that more than 24,500 people are in drug treatment programmes for cannabis - the highest ever. It is the most commonly misused drug by children, accounting for 75 per cent of those requiring treatment. That's 11,582 under-18s - more than double those in treatment for cannabis abuse in 2005. And more adults (13,087) are in drug treatment programmes for cannabis abuse than for crack or cocaine.

This news comes as pressure grows on the Government to reclassify cannabis to its former class B status, with the fears of police now being echoed by the Forensic Science Service, which says skunk cannabis - a highly potent form of the drug - accounts for 75 per cent of all seizures. Cannabis remains Britain's most commonly used illegal drug, with more than 4,000 kilos confiscated by police and customs officers in the first six months of this year.


A "softer" paternalist

What gives HIM the right to make decisions for other people? Should we say "Sieg heil" to him?

A radical plan to improve the nation's health - including a workplace "exercise hour" - has been unveiled by a leading Government adviser. New figures today show England is the fattest country in the EU. Now Professor Julian Le Grand, chairman of Health England, hopes to encourage people to improve their diets, give up smoking and exercise more.

He proposed the introduction of a smoking permit, which smokers would be required to show each time they bought tobacco. It is then their choice to go smoke free and not buy a permit.

Companies with more than 500 staff would have an " exercise hour". Employees would have to deliberately choose not to join in. The proposalsare the opposite of the Government's approach which requires people to opt in to healthy lifestyles. Instead it would be up to them to make the unhealthy choice.

In his speech to the Royal Statistical Society last night the professor, a former aide to Tony Blair said: "It is not like banning something, it's a softer form of paternalism."


Permissiveness is degrading English civility

To understand the opening comments below, you need to know that Rugby is a form of football favoured by middle to upper class Brits while "football" (soccer") is working class. The bad behaviour of English soccer fans abroad is notorious. The author, Janet Daley is American born. Her surname is Irish. It is unlikely that an English person would comment on class differences so forthrightly. She is nonetheless a frequent writer in English conservative publications

So the England rugby fans apparently managed to find their way out of Paris without wrecking a single bar, overturning a single car or bottling a single South African supporter - let alone waging a pitched battle on the Champs-Elysees with a squad of armoured police. Even those who arrived without tickets, drank with abandon and were reduced to sleeping rough in the streets - a sure-fire prescription for carnage if this had been a football World Cup - made no trouble for the authorities.

There are a few commentators who staunchly insist that this is not about class: that the difference between what Dave Tattoo and his mates would have done to Paris after losing a football World Cup final, and what the sad but non-violent rugby fans did, is nothing to do with the ugly social divide that still pervades Britain.

Well, delude yourself if you like - but this is about class. What confuses the issue now is that class is not all about money. Many thugs who travel abroad in fervent pursuit of the ultimate football fan's trophy - a charge of grievous bodily harm - are high earners, at least by the standards of their parents' generation. (After all, how else could they afford the trip?)

But what is so devastatingly depressing is that the class barrier in Britain is so immutable that even relative affluence cannot touch what lies at the heart of it. Since I arrived in this country, there has been a succession of optimistic prophesies about the end of the class system. When I got here in the 1960s you were in the midst of one: a great wave of creativity had arisen from the proletarian provinces - John Lennon and David Hockney, John Osborne and Kingsley Amis. Surely this was the dawn of a new age of egalitarian meritocracy in which it was positively fashionable to have working-class roots? Look at the photographs of the England football team who won the World Cup in 1966. How respectable and middle class they appear - and how gentlemanly was their behaviour on the pitch by comparison to the rich sociopaths who now dominate the game.

Whatever happened to the decency and civility that was personified by Bobby Moore and the Charlton brothers? What happened to the desire of young working-class men to rise above the violence and borderline criminality that lay in wait for people of their backgrounds whose self-discipline was allowed to slip?

It disappeared under a new wave of garbage culture and what seemed to me - a shocked outsider - like a positive conspiracy to maintain the separateness of working-class life, engineered jointly by sentimental media hokum and patronising middle-class guilt.

Whole genres of television programmes, whole tranches of truly appalling down-market magazines appeared on the scene, all apparently designed to celebrate the most degrading forms of working-class life. And as cynical and manipulative as these cold-blooded marketing exercises were, to criticise them was to invite charges of snobbery: as if no form of "entertainment", however debased, should be regarded as too low to be an insult to this audience.

Schooling, which should have been the real answer to it all, was dominated by an educational establishment steeped in bourgeois guilt. I can remember having heated arguments with teachers and education officials who were adamant that children's ungrammatical regional dialects should not be corrected. "Correct" English, they insisted, was just a middle-class fetish which should not be imposed on children from "other" backgrounds. So generations of working-class children had their feet set in social and cultural concrete by schools that refused to teach them how to speak and write their own language properly.

It happened again and again: in the 1980s there was another burst of meritocratic aspiration which saw a further wave of people break free from the limitations of their backgrounds - only to be ridiculed as "Essex men" whose vulgar tastes and flashy wives still put them beyond the pale no matter how much they earned.

Now we have a new incarnation of the old division with "chavs" [flashy working class youths] and reborn Sloane Rangers. And a poll at the weekend states that 89 per cent of respondents believe that people in Britain are still judged by their class.

The Labour Government, convinced (rightly) that education is the answer to this, is trying to force universities to accept students whose schooling has been so inadequate that they cannot even achieve the low level of qualification needed to be admitted legitimately. Social engineering is too subtle a term for this distortion of university entrance criteria: it is not so much a bending of the system as a bludgeoning that threatens to devalue what makes higher education so worthwhile. If education is the answer, then it must be allowed to do what only education can do: provide the rite of passage to an examined life.

That life requires an attitude which takes self-respect and the value of personal achievement for granted. Implant and nurture those things and the rest - aspiration, motivation and social mobility - will follow.

In Danny Danziger's book Museum, a collection of essays by people who work at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a revelatory chapter by the head of security. The uniformed guards in the galleries at the Met are all graduates. This may be why they exercise far more discipline over the groups of schoolchildren than their British equivalents do: first, they feel more real commitment to the art, and second, they see no reason why everyone - from whatever background - should not be expected to behave in a museum.

Two of them became so involved with the objects they were guarding that they went back to university to get higher degrees and became museum curators. Ask yourself what the chances would be of that happening here, and even what response there would be to the suggestion that all museum guards should have higher education?

Forgive the homily, but it seems to be necessary to say this: self-respect comes to people from the expectations of others. If you, as a society, do not expect correct speech, decent behaviour and a sense of responsibility from some of your fellow citizens - do not, in other words, demand from them what civilised life requires - then you deny them the chance to enter that life more effectively than if you had barred the gates to every centre of learning in the land.


So health care for the poor is better in England and Canada? Guess again

Post below lifted from Chris Reed. See the original for links

From a new study by Princeton scholars:
This paper reexamines differences found between income gradients in American and English children's health, in results originally published by Case, Lubotsky and Paxson (2002) for the US, and by Currie, Shields and Wheatley Price (2007) for England. We find that, when the English sample is expanded by adding three years of data, and is compared to American data from the same time period, the income gradient in children's health increases with age by the same amount in the two countries.

In addition, we find that Currie, Shields and Wheatley Price's measures of chronic conditions from the Health Survey of England were incorrectly coded. Using correctly coded data, we find that the effects of chronic conditions on health status are larger in the English sample than in the American sample, and that income plays a larger role in buffering children's health from the effects of chronic conditions in England.

We find no evidence that the British National Health Service, with its focus on free services and equal access, prevents the association between health and income from becoming more pronounced as children grow older.

Got that? Poor kids fare better in the U.S. system, with all its flaws, than in England with its single-payer system. Oh, but that's England! Canada is what we want to be like! Michael Moore says so! It must be true. Guess again. Here's the summary of a new study by Baruch College scholars:
Does Canada's publicly funded, single payer health care system deliver better health outcomes and distribute health resources more equitably than the multi-payer heavily private U.S. system? We show that the efficacy of health care systems cannot be usefully evaluated by comparisons of infant mortality and life expectancy. We analyze several alternative measures of health status using JCUSH (The Joint Canada/U.S. Survey of Health) and other surveys.

We find a somewhat higher incidence of chronic health conditions in the U.S. than in Canada but somewhat greater U.S. access to treatment for these conditions. Moreover, a significantly higher percentage of U.S. women and men are screened for major forms of cancer. Although health status, measured in various ways is similar in both countries, mortality/incidence ratios for various cancers tend to be higher in Canada. The need to ration resources in Canada, where care is delivered "free", ultimately leads to long waits. In the U.S., costs are more often a source of unmet needs.

We also find that Canada has no more abolished the tendency for health status to improve with income than have other countries. Indeed, the health-income gradient is slightly steeper in Canada than it is in the U.S.

Got that? Poor people fare slightly better in the U.S. health system than they do in the Canadian system. On a scale of 0 to 100, relevance of these studies to the U.S. health debate: 100.

On a scale of 0 to 100, the likelihood they ever will become part of the U.S. health debate: 0. Just wonderful.

NOTE: The Canadian study above does have some problems. See here. But when one of Canada's leading Leftist politicians goes to the USA for medical treatment that probably tells us more than any statistics. And Stronach is one of many Canadians who go to the USA for treatment that they cannot get in Canada

Man rips out teeth with pliers to beat NHS wait

He was in pain from toothache but was told to wait 3 weeks before he could be treated

A BRITISH man has pulled out seven of his own teeth because he was told to wait three weeks for an appointment to see a National Health Service dentist. Taxi driver Arthur Haupt used pliers and a technique he had learned in the army to carry out the DIY dentistry. He couldn't afford the $170 per tooth treatment he was quoted by a private practice.

"If you can't get anyone else to take your teeth out, you take them out yourself, don't you?" said Mr Haupt, 67, from Melton, in Leicestershire in England's east Midlands. "When they told me to fill out a form and how long I would have to wait I said, 'I've got gob ache now, not in three weeks time'.


Brits beginning to face environmental facts

Ministers are planning a U-turn on Britain's pledges to combat climate change that "effectively abolishes" its targets to rapidly expand the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Gordon Brown will be advised today that the target Tony Blair signed up to this year for 20% of all European energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 is expensive and faces "severe practical difficulties".

According to the papers, John Hutton, the secretary of state for business, will tell Mr Brown that Britain should work with Poland and other governments sceptical about climate change to "help persuade" German chancellor Angela Merkel and others to set lower renewable targets, before binding commitments are framed in December. It admits that allowing member states to fall short of their renewable targets will be "very hard to negotiate ... and will be very controversial". "The commission, some member states and the European parliament will not want the target to be diluted, though others may be allies for a change," says a draft copy of Mr Hutton's Energy Policy Presentation to the Prime Minister, marked "restricted - policy".

The revelations came as scientists announced that carbon emissions were accumulating in the atmosphere far more quickly than predicted. The sharp increase found by the Global Carbon Project is attributed mainly to Chinese coal-burning and a weakening of the ability of oceans and forests to soak up carbon dioxide.

The leaked papers admit to "a potentially significant cost in terms of reduced climate change leadership" if Mr Brown is seen to be driving a plan to let European member states fall short of their renewables targets. They also reveal different priorities across government departments about how to get renewables to 20% of the electricity mix. Although Germany has increased its renewable energy share to 9% in six years, Britain's share is only 2%, with its greenhouse gas emissions rising.

Last night campaigners expressed alarm at the new direction of government policy. "Gordon Brown is now in danger of surrendering any claim to international leadership on climate change and would rather support nuclear power and scupper the European renewable energy target," said John Sauven, director of Greenpeace.

Mr Hutton will tell Mr Brown that there are severe practical difficulties about meeting the 20% target. These include persuading the Ministry of Defence and the shipping industry to accept more offshore wind power, as well as increased research and development costs for marine and tidal power. One of the main objections of government to meeting the renewables target set by Mr Blair is that it will undermine the role of the European emission trading scheme. This scheme was devised by the Treasury under Mr Brown and allows wealthy governments to pay others to reduce emissions. "[Meeting the 20% renewables target] crucially undermines the scheme's credibility ... and reduces the incentives to invest in other carbon technologies like nuclear power", say the papers.

The government is clearly worried about its ambition to introduce more nuclear power as soon as possible. Mr Hutton will tell Mr Brown that he expects a second legal challenge by Greenpeace. "[It is] most likely to be on the basis of pre-judgement, concerns about waste, a flawed consultation process or inaccuracies."

Analysis by Mr Hutton's department suggests it could cost the UK 4bn pounds a year to achieve a 9% share of renewable energy by 2020. The shift in stance is due to be discussed at full cabinet next week. Last night a spokesman for the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said: "We don't comment on ministerial meetings with the PM.


No comments: