Sunday, 3 February 2008


Great snippet from an article from The Economist.

In 1950, the UK had 150,000 places in mental hospitals.

It is now 30,000.

In 1950, the UK had 50 million people. Now it has 61 million.

So whilst the general population has swelled by 18% (and presumably the number of loonies has grown faster as all sorts of new mental maladies have been invented), the capacity of the loony bins has dropped by 80%.

I presume a similar thing has happened in Australia, which is why our prisons are full of inmates with mental health problems, our hospitals are over run with mad people, housing commission areas are complete sinkholes, certain sections of the CBD have loonies on every corner and possibly why the trade in hard drugs has exploded.

Are junkies driven mad by smack and ice for instance, or are they only attracted to smack and ice because they are mad to start with? Can a certain level of mental instability be a good predicator of drug taking behaviour? If so, is it reasonable to say that we had less demand for drugs 50 years ago because all the potential smackheads were locked up in rubber rooms and having electrodes attached to their brains?

I have heard time and time again that drug addiction is an illness. Fine. But is it a physical illness or a mental illness, and is it curable?

If it's not curable, I'd prefer those house breaking, car stealing, bag snatching, shoplifting little turds to be despatched to a nice place in the country for a bit of R&R. Preferably until they are about 78.

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