Geoff Brown Talks to Alex Laybourne About Overcoming Adversity, Personal Triumphs… and Editing | Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author

G.N. Braun (Geoff Brown) was raised in Melbourne’s gritty Western Suburbs. He is a trained nurse, and holds a Cert. IV in Professional Writing and Editing. He is currently studying for a Dip. Arts (Professional Writing and Editing). He writes fiction untied to any genre, and is the author of ‘Boneyard Smack’, ‘Bubba wants YOU’, ‘Insurrection’ (all available as free downloads from Legumeman Books) and ‘Santa Akbar!’ (published in Festive Fear: Global Edition, out through Tasmaniac Publications in Australia). He has a short story–’Autumn as Metaphor’–in the charity anthology Horror For Good, as well as numerous articles published in newspapers. He is the current president of the Australian Horror Writers Association, as well as the past director of the Australian Shadows Awards. His memoir, Hammered, was released in early 2012 by Legumeman Books. He is the owner of Cohesion Editing and Proofreading.

I like to begin my interviews with something gentle, so please tell us a little about yourself?

via Geoff Brown Talks to Alex Laybourne About Overcoming Adversity, Personal Triumphs… and Editing | Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author.

Goodbye to High…

“People who use it are idiots,” said Professor John W. Huffman, who first synthesised many of the cannabinoids used in synthetic cannabis.

Until recently, it was possible to buy legal recreational drugs from many stores around the state and the country. Brand names such as Kronic and Bath-Salts have been flooding the market.

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In Australia, synthetic cannabinoid products (often referred to as ‘synthetic cannabis’) have been available for the last two years. As in other parts of the world, they are usually sold through the Internet, as well as specialist adult stores or tobacconists. ‘Kronic’ is perhaps the best known of these and has received a great deal of media attention in recent times. Other such products available in Australia that contain synthetic cannabinoids include ‘Kalma’, ‘Voodoo’, ‘Kaos’ and ‘Mango Kush’. In a bid to avoid legal ramifications, drug users seemed to have been turning to these legal alternatives to get ‘high’. But at what cost?

“Just because it’s not illegal doesn’t mean it’s not harmful,” said National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) researchers. NDARC director Professor Michael Farrell said people should be wary of what [drugs] they are buying online, which are often sold under various misleading names.

“They don’t know what they’re buying. What they think they’re buying may be something different,” said Professor Farrell.

Twenty-two experts, including Professor Farrell, addressed NDARC’s annual drug symposium at the University of NSW.

The Sydney conference looked at the changing nature of synthetic drugs, and ways for the law to maintain relevance and remain effective in the new online and retail marketplace for these substances.

‘Internet drug retailers often make slight changes to the properties of a banned substance to make it technically legal,’ said Dr Lucy Burns, NDARC’s head of drug monitoring

“Our laws have to keep trying to stay one step ahead,” she said

According to the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), ‘studies show the vast majority of these chemicals have only been recently synthesized and little, if any, data exists currently about their side effects, adverse reactions, long-term damage, or dependence potential. Most importantly, there are no officially published safety data and almost nothing is known about their effects on humans’.

The Secretary Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, in a press release dated 8 July 2011, stated that the federal government had outlawed eight synthetic cannabinoids. After new legislation was passed in May this year, these alternatives are now just as illegal as the drugs they are designed to mimic. So far, synthetic cannabis is banned in sixteen countries worldwide.

Victoria’s Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge welcomed the decision to make the laws regulating these substances uniform across Australia.

“Victoria has been pressuring the Commonwealth to urgently ban the possession of this potentially dangerous and harmful substance and I am pleased that as a result of our advocacy, we now have uniform laws across Australia in relation to these drugs,” Ms Wooldridge said.

These new regulations meant that the previously-legal drugs are now considered ‘controlled substances’, and their possession, sale and use is now proscribed by law. Any person found to be in possession of synthetic cannabinoids will face prosecution.

GNB

Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss

Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss Neetzan ZimmermanRegular use of marijuana during adolescence can lead to irreversible IQ loss, findings from a long-range study suggest.The report, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, relies on data from a series of interviews conducted with over 1,000 residents of Dunedin, New Zealand, who were tracked from birth until the age of 38.Those in the study group who reported using marijuana more than once a week during their teen years scored, on average, 8 points lower in IQ tests at age 38 than at age 13. Furthermore, friends and relatives of persistent users were more likely to note attention and memory problems than those of non-users.”Adolescent-onset cannabis users showed significant I.Q. declines, and more persistent use was associated with greater declines,” said lead author Madeline H. Meier of Duke University.

From Science Daily:While 8 IQ points may not sound like a lot on a scale where 100 is the mean, a loss from an IQ of 100 to 92 represents a drop from being in the 50th percentile to being in the 29th, Meier said. Higher IQ correlates with higher education and income, better health and a longer life, she said. “Somebody who loses 8 IQ points as an adolescent may be disadvantaged compared to their same-age peers for years to come,” Meier said.

The study notes that quitting cannabis “did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users.”Interestingly, interviewees who did not begin using marijuana before reaching adulthood did not present a similar IQ decline. It was unclear, however, at what age marijuana use becomes “safe.””The simple message is that substance use is not healthy for kids,” said co-author Avshalom Caspi, also of Duke. “Thats true for tobacco, alcohol, and apparently for cannabis.”[photo via Shutterstock]

via Regular Use of Marijuana in Adolescence Can Cause Permanent, Irreversible IQ Loss.

The Greening of Society

If you think that the police are protecting your children by taking cannabis out of society, you’re wrong.
By removing cannabis, you ensure that a majority of smokers will look elsewhere to get their high. This may be alcohol, speed or prescription medicines, but for many cannabis smokers, it will be something.
I should know. I spoke to young drug-users. I also used illicit drugs for most of my life. I smoked dope, I used speed and heroin, and, on occasion, I used pills when I couldn’t get hold of anything else. For most of the time, I preferred cannabis to all the other drugs. If there was no grass available, I turned to other options.
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Based on responses to the 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, over a third of the Australian population aged 14 years and over had used an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime and nearly 20% had used an illicit drug at least once in the previous 12 months.
Marijuana/cannabis was the most common illicit drug used, with one in three persons having used it at least once in their lifetime and 11% of the population having used it in the previous 12 months.
There are no real statistics to show what happens when police reduce the amount of cannabis in any area, but by interviewing some local marijuana users, I found there is a trend to move towards other substances to get ‘high’.
Neil X, a 16-year old cannabis user says, “…when I can’t score some dope, I turn to alcohol or speed to get off.” A poll conducted by High Times magazine in the US seems to confirm this is the case. Australian substance-abusers likely follow the same trend, although no formal studies have been done so far.
In the UK, “[A]lcohol consumption causes far greater harms to the individual user and to society than does the use of cannabis,” according to a review published online in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the journal of the British Association of Psychopharmacology. The trend (when cannabis is unobtainable) to move towards drinking is alarming.
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Researchers determined: “A direct comparison of alcohol and cannabis showed that alcohol was considered to be more than twice as harmful as cannabis to [individual] users, and five times more harmful as cannabis to others (society).”
Neil X says that he just wants to get high, and if he couldn’t, then the next best alternative is alcohol.
“I’ve done some really stupid things when I’m drunk,” Neil says. “I’ve damaged property, I’ve gotten into fights, and I’ve stolen things just for a laugh.
“My friends are the same,” he says. “We all prefer a smoke, but sometimes we can’t get it.
“Then we go out and buy some piss and get drunk.”
Neil is one of many young smokers who turn to other substances when cannabis in unavailable. He makes no apologies for his behaviour.
“It’s normal,” he says. “All me[sic] mates do it.
“If we can’t get stoned, we get pissed. It’s not as much fun, but it’s better than nothing,” Neil says.
He goes on to tell me that other substances, such as speed or prescription drugs, are another alternative for him.
“I’ll raid me[sic] Mum’s pills, or steal from her purse to score some goey [amphetamines],” he says.
“It’s all the same to me and me[sic] mates. As long as we get off our heads, we don’t give a f***,” he laughs.
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When I asked him what he preferred to use, he replied: “Out of all the shit, I’d rather sit around and have a bong [marijuana pipe], but if it ain’t there, I’ll do whatever it takes to get off.
“When we smoke, we just sit around and talk and laugh,” Neil says, “but when we use goey or pills or get pissed, we always end up in trouble.”
The opportunistic rationale of most drug-dealers means that if there is no cannabis available to sell, they will source other drugs to ensure their weekly profits are as unaffected as possible.
In this case, other drugs may include speed [amphetamines], ecstasy or prescription pills. When the drug-users arrive to score cannabis, the seller informs them that he/she has none. He then goes on to suggest trying something new.
I’m aware that this article could be misread as supporting the sale and use of marijuana. This is not the case. It is simply an attempt to look at the practice – and ramifications – of taking out of circulation the most visible and prolific drug in Central Victoria.

Life…

Empty coke bottle, syringe wrappers blowing in the wind.

I sit and watch as junkies stagger past, either stoned or hanging out; morphine stare or desperate for it.

I live in a daze as people die around me; fast or slow, I’m not sure which is worse. Nadia vomits raspberry soft-drink in a bilious puddle, pale and drawn out of her mind. Shane struts; he’s off the gear right now, but only for a while. Money talks and bullshit walks.

I hear the furious call of an ambulance, racing to help someone who doesn’t want to help themself. I remember watching a body tumble from the sky, twirling in the wind like a screaming kite, hitting the ground like a dying swan, limp and rigid at the same time. Burst open for the entire world to see.

I wonder if any of it is worth living, worth dying for.

I sit and feel the same as I always do. I want to score, I need to score, and I want to score again. Life as a junkie is life in a circle; stoned, not, stoned, not; locked up, not, locked up, not.

Aren’t we always locked up, locked in?

Locked in the cycle, locked in the desire, locked in the need.

I feel locked in, locked up, locked out…

The shit I wrote got accepted . FREE FICTION…

This is a story of addiction.
Download for free HERE!

‘A great start from this promising author. A gritty tale that will give readers a sample of what Braun is capable of. Keep your eyes peeled, it’s only going to get better.’

4 of 5 stars Scott Tyson
~ Author of Dear Santa (Festive Fear 2)
‘Short, nasty and scarily realistic!’
4 of 5 stars Trost
~ Author of Hoffman’s Creeper and The Legend of Redback Jack

‘Braun gives us 2 minutes trapped in the mind of a junkie trying to get a fix…a short, sharp shock. Nothing scarier than real life.’
4 of 5 stars Daniel I. Russell
~ Author of Samhane, Fluffs and Shutterbug

‘Who is this fuckhead, and what’s this shit he calls writing?’
didn't like itit was okliked itreally liked itit was amazing Colonel Glipshitz
~ Author of We, the Moral Minority and Beatnix Under the Bed

‘This book might not be for everyone, but those who are giving the book good reviews you’re being by saying the book is for anyone. Now let people enjoy the book, if you don’t you can go f–k yourselves. This project is a labor of love…’
5 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars Nicolaus ‘Teh Goth’ Pacione
~ Author of ???