Something extraordinary happened on television last night. A politician was asked a series of tough questions and actually answered them all.
What makes this instance all the more remarkable is that the questions put to Senator Jacqui Lambie on the ABC’s 7.30 program were not only pressing, they were personal – they were about her son’s addiction to ice.
For more than a year, Senator Jacqui Lambie has made an art form of creating commotion, usually with very few results. But I sincerely hope her luck is about to change. The Senator made a gutsy admission about a harrowing problem thousands of other parents share. So, in itself, Lambie’s announcement is not shocking.
What’s shocking is that people are actually shocked.
Illicit drug dependency is rampant but rarely do we hear directly from the people it affects.
Which is surprising considering the scope of its reach. Today’s drug addict doesn’t fit in with popular perceptions. The 21st century junkie isn’t a homeless and hopeless heroin junkie strung out in a Kings Cross gutter. Sure, they do still exist, but in my experience today’s drug users are often some of our nation’s brightest.
You wouldn’t pick them for someone who enjoys the occasional splif let alone hitting the crack pipe or dipping their snout in a bag of Charlie (cocaine). It’s the doctors, it’s the bankers, the lawyers, the media peeps. All highly successful professionals who are knocking back cocaine like candy, bringing a whole new meaning to ‘powdering your nose.’
Apart from it being incredibly brave of Jacqui to share her personal torment in such an open and honest way, she has initiated an important debate. That is, drugs don’t discriminate.
Whether you’re rich or poor, educated or not, the famous or the fan. Drugs are everywhere and it scares the hell out of me.