Tag Archives: police

Telepathy on the dance floor

I was hugging my friend on the dance floor when all of a sudden a girl I have never seen before or since grabbed my arm.
– She needs your help, she said before vanishing into the crowd again before I could answer her.
I looked around and tried to find my girlfriend but couldn’t. When I looked toward the entrance I saw a friend gesturing to me to come.
– Your girlfriend needs you. She’s outside.
Police were moving in to close down the party and I found her outside the entrance a little stressed over the situation.
– I really wanted you to come so I asked your friend to get you and also called to you telepathically.

Photo: People on the dance floor, Capitol Hill, John Forbes party, Seattle, Washington, USA by Wonderlane on Flickr

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Andreas Thörns story

Dear friends, acquaintances and neighbors.

This is a story of pain, frustration, hope and despair.
A story about the struggle for better health.
A story of medical cannabis.
This is my story.

I would say that I am a rather ordinary man in my upper 30s. I live in the countryside with my wife and our daughter. On weekdays I work as operations manager in health care. I have an interest in diet, exercise and health, both mental and physical. In my spare time I like to watch movies and series, travel, go to dinners, watch ice hockey and socialize with family and friends. I’m a typical average Joe I guess.

Andreas Thörn.
Andreas Thörn.

What separates me from most others is that I broke my neck in a motorcycle accident at the age of 15, which left me completely paralyzed from the chest down and partially in the arms and hands. Today I have been sitting in a wheelchair for 21 years and my need for assistance is around the clock. Despite my disability I have never seen myself as especially different. I have always had a positive attitude towards life and I have lived it like most others.

My spinal injury was a gigantic shift in my life and has brought with it a lot of hard work. In addition to the paralysis I have many problems that have to do with the complications of the injury. My biggest problem is neuropathic pain (phantom pain in the paralyzed areas), spasticity, inflammation and overworked shoulders, twisted stomach, sleep problems, urinary tract troubles and prostatitis. When these complications become too intense and protracted, it happens that it goes to the psyche in form of anxiety. And then sometimes the anxiety results in depression. These periods have been the worst in my life. They are something I never want to experience again.

At its worst my neuropathic pain feels like a tank ran over me, from my nipples down to my toes. Pain in varying degrees are a part of my everyday life. It has been so for over 20 years and the pain has gradually increased over the years. I rarely show my pain outwards, but it’s hard to hide it from the family. On days when you can barely get out of bed it is difficult to hide it from anyone.

I am very careful with my health. I eat healthy and controlled. Earlier I rarely drank alcohol and now I don’t drink at all. I exercise regularly. Having no synthetic drugs (which incidentally is very rare among people with spinal cord injury), except when I become seriously ill, as with a urinary tract infection which requires antibiotics.

I have during my years had very high standards for what I expect out of the health care system. I have always been involved in my health. I’ve talked, listened, proposed, nagged, argued and cried to get the help I need. Some doctors listen. Some understand. Some give out pills as if it were Easter candy. All doctors have had one thing in common – no one has yet been able to help me. I have tried most drugs and treatments for my pains and other problems. Lyrica, Gabapentin, Sobril, Tradolan, Tramadol, etc. The side effects of each of these drugs have been terrible and unacceptable when compared to the little relief they have given me. In a last attempt to help my pain I got a referral to a pain clinic. I was called by a senior physician who simply said: “We see in your journal that you have tested most traditional treatments. What we can do for you is to offer you a treatment with Methadone. There is unfortunately nothing else we can do.” That was the verdict. It may sound strange, but you didn’t misread that. All they had left to offer me was Methadone.

Somewhere around that time I felt that the health care system had reached its limits when it came to my pain problems. As they themselves came to the realization that they really could not help me, it was easy to lose hope altogether. For believe me, hell will have frozen to ice before I voluntarily slaughter my body with Methadone.

Since I have always been very careful with medicines that do not drastically improve my health or relieve my pains, I have been interested in alternative medicine and herbal remedies. I have tested herbs, roots, flowers and oils of all kinds. For my pain and my anxiety (that live in symbiosis), I have never found anything that gives me the relief I need.

Many years ago I read an article on Cannabis and the plants analgesic properties. After a bit of research I decided to try cannabis in pain relief. This was 15 years ago. Over a 10 year period I tested cannabis a handful of times. They were different types of “street pot” that I managed to get hold of. I have quite a low tolerance level when it comes to alcohol, tobacco and drugs. The same applied to cannabis. I was uncomfortable and generally felt pretty bad even in relatively small amounts. It did have some effect against the pain, but the side effects were too great. It is said that Cannabis is not for everyone. Cannabis was not for me.
I thought…

A few years ago I was reading a discussion about neuropathic pain on a forum for spinal cord injuries in the United States. The thread discussed pain management using cannabis containing high levels of CBD. It was a kind of Cannabis without the, in my case, undesired side effect of being stoned. I was very curious and continued my research on CBD and discussed it with the people who use CBD-rich cannabis for their pain. These people used cannabis with a distribution of approximately 1: 1 CBD / THC. CBD unlike THC is not psychoactive and does not cause intoxication. CBD has for example been shown to have anti-epileptic, anti-depressants and anti-inflammatory properties. Together, the CBD acts as a neutralizer of THC’s psychoactive properties, which allows one to take advantage of both THC and CBD’s’s medicinal properties without experiencing any rush.

I came in contact with some people on the CBD Crew, a group of dedicated people who specialize in developing CBD-rich cannabis of that particular type. After long discussions with knowledgeable individuals in the world of medical cannabis and a deep moral discussion with my wife, I decided to make an attempt to medicate with CBD-rich cannabis. I grew my first plant in early 2013. I harvested, dried and cured it. I do not smoke so I made the oil which I planned to eat.

I started at low doses and slowly increased. The result was astounding and I must of course tell you what cannabis is done for me. I cleaned my mail recently and found a message that is written to my doctor at the end of last year that describes this pretty well. I have always had an open dialogue with my doctor about my use of cannabis as medicine. He has witnessed the health benefits I had with cannabis and he has also made notes about it in my journal. Below is the email.

● ● ●

Hello XXXX,

I am going through my medical records of recent years and thinking about the future and my health. Now it has been more than a year since I started self medicating with my green herbal remedies. It is quite clear when I read my journal what a positive impact this medication has had.

Before I started this, I had several periods of deep concern and on a few occasions it was so bad that I became depressed. XXXX was involved for a while and can certainly attest that I was not feeling great. One period was so bad that I had to be medicated with antidepressants for half a year (by family doctor). In addition to this, I have troubles with among other severe pain, insomnia, IBS and spasticity.

No Pain, No Gain by Carlos Martinez on Flickr.
No Pain, No Gain by Carlos Martinez on Flickr.

These years that I have had since I introduced my medicine have been the best years for a very long time. I have not had a single day with even a hint of anxiety. My pain is less severe. I have no trouble sleeping any longer. I am basically free from spasticity. My IBS is better. I have more endurance. I am a positive, energetic, happy, and see life with totally different eyes. I have increased my working hours. I have started exercising regularly. The relationship with my wife is wonderful. And the list goes on. My life took a radical turn and my surroundings – wife, daughter and assistants – all say that they see a completely new person in me.

However, my new life comes with a price. According to Swedish law I am committing a pretty serious offense medicating myself as I do. I risk a fine and maybe even prison. I risk my work. I risk my family’s and my reputation. It’s a very high price. At the same time I risk losing all of that if I stop with my medicine, because I dare not even think about how I felt 2 years ago. In addition to this, it is not easy to always have access to my medicine. It is becoming an impossible situation of trying to have enough medicine available. It is also a constant concern that this information ends up in the wrong hands.

[Lots of text where I beg my doctor to let me try Sativex, one of the few approved cannabis medicines in Sweden.]

● ● ●

CBD-rich cannabis works really well for me, to say the least. Thanks to cannabis I have an opportunity to live a life I never thought was possible. A life where I wake up every morning and look forward to getting out of bed. A life that no longer revolves around trying to cope and survive the day. A life where my health doesn’t hinder me and my family’s lives. A life where I can work, contribute and be part of society. Without noticeable side effects.

Two months after this mail, January 22, 2015, was the day when everything came tumbling down. I was eating breakfast when there was a knock on the door. Outside were two men in plain clothes waving their police badges. They asked to look around and began asking questions. I understood that lies wouldn’t help me, so I told them my story about how and why I use cannabis as medicine. They took my three plants and a small amount of finished medicine that I had left. A brief hearing was held and they left our home. I won’t go into detail about the encounter. The police were respectful and the whole thing was quite un-dramatic.

Once the initial shock subsided came the shame, anxiety and feeling of being very small and insignificant.

After a few days the pain began to come back, the spasticity increased and my sleep was disrupted, my stomach began to fuss and I began to be reminded of how my life actually was before. A life that I can no longer imagine for myself. After two weeks I caved. In sheer panic I called my doctor and said that I refuse to give up and I do not accept to live this way.

I now have Sativex on prescription, but not subsidized, which my doctor had tried to fix. Sativex is incredibly expensive. So I took from my savings, bought Sativex and hoped that it would work as well as I thought it should. I followed the entry stairs dosage and gave it a decent and honest chance. The effect I got was extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and total incapacity to manage my work and my life. For my health Sativex did nothing else than reduce my spasticity.

The disappointment was complete.

The neuropathic pain is worse now than ever, my IBS symptoms are out of control, I have urinary tract malfunctions, I have high levels of anxiety and my sleep problems reinforces all these ailments. Without reason. There is help to be had. I just do not have the permission to use it. 1 step forward and 2 steps back pretty much sums up my current situation.

Now I will be prosecuted. I will be tried and punished.
They are going to punish me because I have chosen to help myself to a better, healthier and more dignified life. I have chosen to defend myself against the illness. That choice is based on the fact that the healthcare system cannot help me. It is a choice based on the first hand knowledge that heavy narcotics cannot help me.

It’s not enough to take away my medicine, my health and my dignity. I should also be punished, at any price. There is something very warped and inhuman to it.
I have committed a crime, I know. A crime in which there are no victims.
But the bigger and more relevant question is, have I done something wrong?

Is it wrong to refuse to feel bad?
Is it wrong to relieve pain and other health problems?
Is it wrong to work, contribute to society and have a decent life?
Is it wrong to be a better father, husband and friend?
Is it wrong to think for yourself and dare to challenge?
Is it wrong to choose a good health?
Is it wrong to choose life?
Is it wrong to use medical cannabis in order to achieve the above?

My answer to the question is hopefully quite clear. I have finally found a medication that works for me. A medication that has given me my life back. For me it’s about survival and the right to a dignified and healthy life. I have been asked if I regret my choice. The answer is no. How could I? Now I know that there is help for me. After so many years of suffering, there is hope. The hope of a better life.

My battle starts here. I intend to stand up straight and do everything in my power for the right to better health. I choose to take the fight because I feel a responsibility to myself, my family and my friends. I also feel a responsibility for all the sick, persecuted, oppressed and vulnerable people who can or will not stand up for their right to a humane life. I am far from alone. There are too many of us suffering in silence. Without reason.

I risk being slandered, attacked, questioned, discredited and diminished. But I will never give up. Never.

What really matters and can make a difference in the end is what you think. Next time it could be you, your best friend or your loved ones who are denied the right to health. Your opinion, like mine, means something. I will be happy to answer questions.
Share. Comment. Tag. Mail. Call. Make your voice heard. Say what you think. Question. Criticize. React. Act.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my story and an extra big thank you to all wonderful people who have supported and helped me along the way.

Andreas Thörn
andreas@vemtaransvar.nu

Main photo: My Ghost by mattwi1s0n on Flickr

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Imagine this

Now imagine this.

As a teenager you suffer from recurrent anxiety and depression, which sometimes makes it difficult for you to attend school. You start working, but you are still so down that your boss finally sends you to the doctor for help. You get antidepressants and life brightens slightly.

But only slightly and just in the beginning.

Because after a while the anxiety comes back and you start to numb yourself with alcohol and drugs. Sometimes you lose control and become violent, but all you really want is to escape whatever it is that makes you feel bad. Dazed, you are in a free fall in life. You are falling apart and at the same time desperate to escape.

But then one day you manage to brace yourself with all your power long enough to enter rehab. Only a couple of days later your girlfriend tells you she is pregnant, which motivates you to change your life. You go into counseling and get medicine.

But the drugs are not helping you get rid of your anxiety, worry and depression. Instead they cover it up and sedate you. Behind it all your problems are still there. The drugs don’t work very well and you are given stronger medications and increased doses, which gives you serious side effects. You become sluggish, tired and out of it all. Some periods you sleep most of the day, but others you don’t sleep at all. You gain weight and sweat enormously.

Finally a puzzled physician gives you a choice: start take benzo (benzodiazepines), which is a strong sedative with a long list of side effects. It’s addictive, you have yourself abused it earlier on in life and it often leads to apathetic and emotionally blunted states. You know you absolutely do not want to take it.

At the same time several friends advise you to try medicating yourself with cannabis. You have certainly smoked cannabis before, but only when you were abusing something else at the same time. Never as medicine. Faced with the choice to try illicit cannabis or to take a medication that will sedate and blunt you, you choose to at least give cannabis a try before you agree to take benzo.

You can hardly believe that the effects cannabis gives you are true. The medical fog you have found yourself in over several years is dispelled. Suddenly you sleep regularly, you take an interest in life and you begin to set goals for yourself. You go back to school to become a tattoo artist and in time you open your own studio. Suddenly everything is happening very fast. But above all the anxiety is gone. Not gone as in sedated, but actually gone. Your worries are gone and so is your depression. Earlier on in life you had a tendency to destroy everything in order to escape yourself, but now suddenly you turn your energy to create, heal and take responsibility.

But buying cannabis from drug dealers isn’t a solution. The availability is uncertain and the quality is uneven, so you decide to grow your own cannabis. You carefully examine what medical strains are best for you and then order seeds from Holland. It is legal to buy seeds, but not to plant them. But you value your recovery and well-being above the law, so with love and care you grow your own medicine. Everything you grow is only for yourself and you do so for many years. In the mean time you feel great, your company develops, you get married and make an effort to be a good father.

Then one day there’s a knock on the door.

It’s the police who received a tip from customs a few months earlier that you had been sent a package of seeds. Now they want to see what you’ve done with them.

What is morally right?
Should you be punished?
Do you have any legal right to heal yourself, as you are supposedly guaranteed in the Declaration of Human Rights?
Should you go back to sedating yourself with strong medications that might deprive your children of their father and your wife of her husband, or should you continue with the illegal medication that actually helps you?
What would you do?

This is Jens Waldmann’s story. He was convicted in the District Court, but his case is going to the Court of Appeal in Jönköping, Sweden, January 15 2015, at 9 o’clock. The public is welcome to attend trials.

What do you think is right?

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“Nothing to see here. We’re just helping this lad sort his life out.”

I had just returned from two months in sober Pakistan and was aching for a night out. Dressed as a Taliban, with the matching beard, I went to the pub in Ystad. The evening was a fog of drunkenness, so when it was time to go home I could not stand on my feet. So I crawled; crawled down the shopping street in Ystad.

Until I bumped into something. It was a kind of cloudy white blur, but hard. I examined it with my hands but could not make out what it was. My fingers did however find an edge. A tiny little edge that I started fiddling. There was something exciting with that edge, and whatever it was it was thoroughly stuck. I poked and poked and after a long while I was able to get it loose, so I stuck it to my leg.

Then I found a new edge that I started fiddling. Whatever it was it was not an easy task getting it off. I had just managed to get it unstuck when an irritated authoritative voice spoke behind me.
– And what do you think you are doing to our car?
Four strong hands stood me up and in the blur I could vaguely make out a police officer.
– Oh, I’m schorry conschtaple. I wach juscht kwawling along…

Not even sober I would have been able to talk myself out of that one, seeing that I had the police emblem from their car stuck to my chest and a capital P on my leg. They handcuffed me, shoved me into the back seat and while the police who drove took a very long detour to the police station, the other one gave me a good beating.

For several months after that an olice car was seen driving around town. So in a sense you could say that I won, because I was only sore from the beating for a few weeks.

Photo: You have the right to remain silent… by Derek Gavey on Flickr

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The effects of todays drug laws

At any point in time there are ideas that are so taken for granted that we find it difficult to imagine that it could be otherwise. They are so deeply ingrained in us that we are provoked if anyone questions them, even if the questioning is fully rational.

Drug legislation is such an idea. When weighing in all good and all bad that it brings, there is only one reasonable conclusion: the law is foolish. But say that out loud in Sweden today and you will be mocked, booed and threatened. All sense and logic seems to take a vacation whenever the subject comes up, and otherwise seemingly intelligent people suddenly behave like hateful narrow-minded bigots.

But all such ideas eventually collapse. We call it a paradigm shift. There is such a shift on its way right now. The USA, that has been aggressively active in what has become a war on drugs, is changing direction. Right now cannabis is being legalized, and as more and more amazing results in scientific studies of psychedelics are published, it is only a matter of time before substances like psilocybin (mushrooms), LSD and MDMA are also legalized.

This week I will try to show some of the worrying problems with the current situation, give you some users perspectives on certain illegal substances and propose some measures that I think should be taken into consideration in a future legalization.

● ● ●

When the first steps were taken to create the drug laws we see today, the aim was mainly to minimize addiction problems. The aim was to use the law to steer people away from getting caught up in addiction, destroying their lives and committing other criminal acts. There have been other, more shady reasons also, such as racism, but I want to see the good in people, so let’s say that is the primary reason.

So what has been the outcome of the criminalization of drugs?

Criminal organizations have become immensely rich.

The black market on drugs funds a wide array of criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, mafias, paramilitary organizations, biker gangs and suburban gangs. This lucrative market finances other criminal activities, such as acts of terrorism and militarization.

Violence has increased many times over.

In addition to the criminal violence that drug profits are used to finance, there is plenty of violence at all levels of handling drugs, from the producers down to the final consumer. There is an outright war against drugs today, and parts of that war are being waged with military strategy and equipment. The majority of the violence takes place abroad and just as in other wars, many of the victims are innocent civilians. Drug conflicts are destabilizing entire countries and regions.

Police and other resources are being wasted.

'Hard Stop' conducted by the Armed Garda RSU by Secretive Ireland on Flickr
‘Hard Stop’ conducted by the Armed Garda RSU by Secretive Ireland on Flickr

There are vast resources spent on combating drugs, resources that could have been used better. If all those resources that are now being spent on chasing and punishing people who use drugs, were instead spent on helping addicts, we would have the most amazing addiction treatment the world has ever seen. We spend much more on fighting and punishing, than we do on helping or treating addicts.

More criminals are created.

When drugs were outlawed that instantaneously created a large new group of “criminals” whose only crime is that they like certain substances more than others. The vast majority – more than with alcohol or nicotine – don’t have and will never have any problems with the substances they use. The only contact many of these people will ever have with a criminal underworld is when they buy drugs. Even so, they will be treated as criminals and addicts if they get caught and will get a ticket to the same prison as other criminals. Through the legal system they are stigmatized, forced into debt and are given more criminal contacts, which in the worst case is a gateway to a criminal lifestyle.

The laws are used to harass people.

Drug laws are used by the police to take people with a certain appearance, taste in music, or ethnic background into custody without any realistic suspicion. Many of the drug laws have racist roots, reflected in today’s application of them. People are also indirectly harassed through the exclusion that they are forced into and the stigma they face. The system embedded hypocrisy in all of this is especially noticeable when many of the ones being hunted use significantly less dangerous substances than the legal alternatives.

Addicts are prevented from getting proper care.

No name by Daniel Oines on Flickr
No name by Daniel Oines on Flickr

Addicts are sick, but are treated as criminals, and authorities can at any time deprive them of any security and impose unreasonable demands on them. Even those who voluntarily seek government help to get rid of their addiction are treated as a criminal and are often given late and inadequate assistance, if any at all, because the resources are rather devoted to controlling and punishing the person. This creates a high amount of stress among many addicts, which undermines recovery and triggers relapses, with exclusion and alienation as a result.

Creates a black market that wants people to be addicted.

The criminal organizations that control the black market have an interest in keeping people hooked and to attract them back into using. One result is that the market prefers more addictive drugs such as heroin rather than opium.

The lack of quality control is lethal.

On the black market, there is no quality control. Drugs can be diluted with other dangerous substances. They can also be something quite different from what they are said to be, giving the user an experience that s/he didn’t anticipate. Sometimes the substance is much stronger than what the user is used to, which may lead to severe accidental overdoses. Many deaths that occur on drugs are because of accidental overdoses, combined with a fear to seek help.

Research Chemicals harm and kill.

Another dangerous development is that people who want to avoid breaking the law buy so-called Research Chemicals instead. These are new compounds that have not yet been classified, and are therefore legal, but they can sometimes be deadly. Knowledge about dosage and how they react with other substances (such as alcohol) is often virtually non-existent, which is a very dangerous combination. Thus drug users who want to stay on the right side of the law are steered away from well-known and less hazardous substances, to substances which are unknown and in some cases even fatal.

Alternativetreatments are being prevented.

Ironically many of the substances which are particularly effective to help relieve addiction are classified as drugs without medical value. LSD-assisted therapy for alcoholics had, when it was legal, a far higher efficiency than the 12-step program has ever had. Ibogaine, an incredibly powerful psychedelic substance, has been shown to cure heroin addiction in just a few doses. But rather than give heroin addicts access to Ibogaine, we lock them in other addictions, such as with Subutex/Suboxone or Methadone. In the current situation there is no treatment that comes close to being as effective as psychedelic assisted treatment, but these therapeutic tools have been wrongly classified as drugs.

● ● ●

Now imagine that you step back in time to just before today’s repressive drug laws were first passed. You are a decision maker and it worries you to see the addiction problems associated with some of the drugs. On the table is a proposal to ban a variety of substances and impose severe penalties.

On the table there is also an analysis on what other impact the law would have. Among the consequences you read are: criminal organizations will become immensely rich, violence will increase and even lead to war in several countries, the drug profits will fund terror crimes and wars, police resources will be wasted, more criminals will be created, addicts will get worse care, drug users will be exposed to more addictive substances, the lack of quality control will lead to more deaths, more dangerous substances will be researched and sold in order to circumvent the law and the most promising treatments to cure addiction will be stopped . But despite all this, the number of actual addicts will remain about the same.

Would you vote in favour of such a law?

● ● ●

This blog post has been inspired by, among other things:
∙ A challenge from a friend who is a politician to show how legalization could work
∙ The TEDx talk by James Leitzel that does just that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Px4nYbJoQ
∙ Organisations and initiatives such as Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (http://www.maps.org/) and Transform (http://www.tdpf.org.uk/)

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Declaration of love to a dance culture

Early 2006 I stepped into my first raves and was utterly astounded. I had been to tons of rock festivals before, where binge drinking, fights, vomiting and bad behaviour was customary. Suddenly I found myself in a context where quite different standards were upheld. Five steps inside the door at that first rave a guy began talking to me.
– I haven’t seen you before, he said.
– No, this is my first rave party.
– Oh, how wonderful. Welcome! Let me introduce you to some of the people here.
He took me on a tour and I got to shake hands with a dozen people, including a couple of the DJs who would be playing that evening.

There is a world of difference between a rave party and an alcohol driven party. One of the most striking things is that fights almost never occur. I’m not saying that they actually never occur, but violence is extremely rare at raves. The only violence I have witnessed at a rave is the violence that police have used against ravers.

Another thing that I feel is characteristic of raves is that they aren’t as shabbily sexualized as other nightlife places. Again, I need to voice a disclaimer and say that there might of course be creeps going over people’s limits here too, but the problems are definitely much smaller than at a regular pub. Above all it is ok to talk to both guys and girls, without it being assumed that one’s intention is to get inside their underwear.

But this sounds wonderful. What’s the problem?

10687219_739723502730828_7189171724004085676_nWell, some people claim that the rave scene is very drug-intensive. I can confirm that it is. There are those who in their eagerness to get the establishment to accept them, claim that is not the case. But it is. Ravers smoke cannabis, drop ecstasy, snort amphetamines, eat magic mushrooms and drink alcohol. Yes, those who want to demonize rave culture can easily dismiss their parties as drug orgies and be partly correct.

But not quite correct, because there is much more to the truth. My experience is that there are a lot of drugs at all venues, but they are handled much more discreetly at a regular nightclub. At a rave there is a silent agreement to respect each other, no matter what your drug habits are, as long as they do not affect the respect we have for each other. Therefore, no one will react if they see someone light a joint or snort a line, as long as they do not behave badly afterwards. Which they almost never do, should be added.

The nastiest people at a rave tend to be those drinking alcohol. People are wary of them, since they have a tendency to fall into people, to be unpleasantly loud and not respect others’ personal space. People behaving badly at a rave are almost exclusively drunk; not high.

Another very interesting aspect of drug taking at raves is that there are a remarkably high proportion of people that don’t use any at all. They are far more numerous than at any other night club. It is common for people to be drawn into the culture because they want to do drugs, but when they are there they find new friends who help them feel better about themselves and ultimately inspire them to stop using drugs.

If you call raves drug orgies you’re missing the bigger picture. For many rave culture is in fact quite the opposite – a salvation from destructive drug use.

Photo: HV4V5019 by Patrick Savalle on Flickr

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Letter to the police in Värmland

Hello.

My name is Daniel Wilby. I am a 40 year old father of two, a writer and an yoga practitioner. Or as Tommy Lindh at the Swedish police in Värmland called me in the Swedish tabloid Expressen – a “drug liberal youth.”

I’m alive thanks to LSD.

Nine years ago I was literally on the verge of drinking myself to death. By pure chance, at age 31, I tried LSD and the experience was so transformative that I stopped drinking that same evening and started taking responsibility for my life. There began my journey of healing and growing, and vital tools for that were LSD and psychedelic mushrooms.

When I had my first experience of LSD, where I over night miraculously recovered from a 13-year long heavy alcohol abuse, I thought that my recovery was unique. When I started to look into it and talk to others who have taken LSD and other psychedelics, I quickly discovered that I was by no means unique. Among people who know psychedelics these kinds of stories are very common. LSD is sometimes likened to ten years of therapy in one night, which I can attest that it is often.

I have worked with these substances for eight years, with myself and with others. I have seen much healing, I have seen many insights that have changed peoples’ lives for the better, I have seen many challenge their fears and overcome obstacles within. For that reason, I have begun to study social work. It is my goal to one day work with legal psychedelic therapy.

But back to Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland, who today wrote about LSD on the police Facebook page. The post has created some stir, because it’s obvious that the person who wrote it is very ignorant. In it Tommy Lindh writes about internet drugs which claims victims and says that they have discovered LSD which is an “extremely strong drug which in its dangerousness is clearly comparable to heroin.” In an article in the Swedish tabloid Expressen he continues to confuse LSD with research chemicals and says that the young people have died.

I happen to know much more about LSD than Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland, so I would briefly like to give you a few facts:
∙ It is basically impossible to die of LSD. You need to take more than 1,000 times the dose to stand the slightest risk. No one has ever taken that much LSD.
∙ To risk death with heroin one need to take 5 times the dose and to risk dying from alcohol poisoning one needs to take 10 times the dose. The latter is equivalent to a fourteen year old drinking a full bottle of liquor in 15 minutes.
∙ LSD has with extreme success been used to relieve and cure such things as substance abuse, post traumatic stress, depression, death anxiety, and empathy disorders.
∙ LSD was early on used to treat alcoholics and had much better results than the 12-step program has ever had. Actually one AA’s founder, Bill Wilson, wanted LSD to be step 1 in AA treatment.
∙ Many who use LSD and other psychedelics do it with a spiritual purpose. Psychedelics have been used for more than 6000 years by witches, shamans and medicine men to cure people and to get in contact with the spirit world.

It makes me both sad and upset to see ignorant people like Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland speak in that manner about healing substances that can help so many people, in a time when more people than ever need the help. It irritates me that people like him are allowed to express their ignorance unchallenged in the media.

But I am not waging a war against Tommy. I think it is a pity that his knowledge is so limited. I think it is a shame that so many in the police, the prison service and in other social sectors are so profoundly ignorant to things that could save so many lives.

There are few who dare to speak as openly as I do about these things, because they fear social reprisals. To be able to take this discussion I stay completely drug-free and have done so for more than a year.

If the police in Värmland want to have a better understanding of psychedelics, they are most welcome to hire me as a speaker.

Sincerely

Daniel Wilby

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In defence of the police

Yesterday the small neo-nazi party in Sweden gathered in Malmö and had their right to do so protected by hundreds of police. 1500 demonstrators were there protesting the gathering and it all went bananas when the police charged the demonstrators with horses and drove their cars straight in to the crowd. Ten people were injured and from what we can see in the news footage it seems that the police once again used excessive force.

For a long time I was very disappointed with the Swedish police. When I grew up I had a few very unpleasant encounters with them and so did many of my friends. Encounters where the police instigated violence and where they used excessive force without any apparent reason. I have had quite a few friends being beat up in the back of a police car with their hands cuffed behind their backs so that they had no possibility of defending themselves. And of course no policeman has ever been convicted, because the system keeps them safe behind that badge, no matter what they do.

So disappointed is quite the understatement.

Seeing that the police are the only ones sanctioned to use violence in our society, I had expected a professional attitude which included the ability to stay calm and being able to meet provocation. I had expected the police to be caring, confident and secure. I had expected them to be mentally stable, self controlled and truthful. But generally they aren’t.

So I was very disappointed until just recently, when I started thinking about all of that again and noticed that word EXPECTED jump out at me. I had expectations and that is why I was so very disappointed. But if my expectations are unreasonable, do I still have a real reason to be disappointed?

Because let’s face it. The police are far from the sharpest tools in the shed. I have had a look at their scholarly merits, and intellectually what is mid-range among the rest of us, is close to brilliant if you’re part of the police force. If you want to feel ultra smart – join the police. The education we give them fuels dogmatism, narrow thinking, lets homophobia/sexism/racism slide, doesn’t give sufficient tools for self control and mental stability, but on the contrary favours violent tendencies and machoism, while not dealing with bad behaviour in the police force.

That being the case it seems extremely unreasonable to expect them to be something that they are not. They are small boys and girls in very strong bodies, but with a lack of self control and with the intellectual and emotional capacity of a high school student. I feel truly sorry for them, because they can impossibly live up to my expectations of the police, because they will need to live many more lives before they achieve the emotional maturity that I have expected of that function.

That is not their fault. They are doing the best they can with the tools that they have, and for that we should be truly thankful.

Photo: Riot police blocking the way to the parliament building on Sunday night by Ivan Bandura on Flickr

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Using it wisely

guardian angel by Chris Tolworthy on Flickr
guardian angel by Chris Tolworthy on Flickr

I was driving much too fast when the police signaled me to drive into a pocket, where she told me to stop behind a lorry.
– Do you know how fast you were going? asked the police woman.
– No, not really. We were talking, I answered.
– Way too fast.
Then she looked around at my wife and children.
– And with children in the car, she added. Not good. Now you’re in luck today, because we are busy with this lorry, but take it easy from now on.

I drove away with a sigh of relief.
– Do you understand the help you’re getting from your guardian angels? asked the wife rhetorically.
– Yes.
– You should use that protection wisely.
– That’s what I’m doing.

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When the rave police attack

delectation by mayeesherr. (in West Bengal!) on Flickr
delectation by mayeesherr. (in West Bengal!) on Flickr

Many people associate raves with drugs, which I find to be quite correct. But it is however not the whole truth. At raves there are also very many more people that are completely sober than you will find at a regular nightclub on a Saturday night. My friend Andrew is one of them.

He gets his kicks by dancing sober, so when the police raided the party at three o’clock at night, he was drenched in sweat. The police started harassing the party people and did not seem to have a clue on how to spot a drug user, so when they went for Andrews sober girlfriend, Andrew stepped in.
– She is sober. I can promise you that, he said.
Suddenly the police took an interest in Andrew instead.
– Well, you don’t seem to be. What have you taken today? Smoked pot? Snorted cocaine?
– I don’t do drugs.
– You mean you have stopped taking them? You’re coming with with us, kid, and we’ll get to the truth of the matter.
Soon enough, Andrew was in the back of the police car with handcuffs on.

Let me tell you a little more about the party. It was held in a community center, tucked away in the countryside, many miles from the closest bigger city. Only with precise directions or a gps was it possible to find the place. It was March and icy cold. And there sat Andrew in the back of the police car in a sweat soaked t-shirt. The trip went winding left, left, right, uphill, downhill, dirt road, country road – until they arrived at a tiny police station in a small, small village. There they brought Andrew into the toilet to piss in a cup.

They then pushed him out the door of the police station.
– Good luck. We will contact you when we received the test results.
And there was Andrew. In a tiny village that no one knew where it was, in the middle of the night, in below zero temperature, without his phone and wearing a sweat soaked t-shirt. Sober.

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