Booze Or Pot?

I didn't sleep well last night, I think a total of an hour and a half – so if I'm a bit incoherent I'd like to register that as excuse number one. No real reason for the lack of sleep, it's a disadvantage of rotating shifts that every so often your body clock just throws up it's hands in despair and goes to sulk behind the sofa – leaving you suffering insomnia and/or intense fatigue.
Last night was actually quite pleasant, the first job of the shift (at around 4pm) was given as an 80 year old male collapsed in the street. Making our way there we were beaten by not only the police and fast response car, but also by a Duty Officer who had taken an interest in the job. It turned out to be a drunk Russian, actually in his early fifties who had decided to lay down and sleep it off in an alley. I suspect he was very surprised when he woke up to find himself surrounded by three police officers and four ambulance bods of various ranks. He was a pleasant enough fellow, who didn't speak a word of English, so to be on the safe side we loaded him onto the ambulance and took him to sunny Newham hospital. When we got there (and remember that this is around 5pm) the crew before us, and the crew who followed us, both had people who were worse for wear for drink. Luckily for both our patient and the hospital; a Russian nurse was working, so he could translate that the patient had indeed just drunk too much, and would very much like to be left alone so he could go home. I'm always impressed by people who can speak another language, two people talking what sounds like utter gibberish, yet making complete sense to each other never fails to entertain.

When taking this gentleman to hospital I drove past six known drunks in the space of one street. Alcohol, and alcoholism is a big blight on our society – some shifts the only jobs we have are those influenced in some way by alcohol. Most assaults can be attributed to alcohol, frequent callers (sometimes six times in one day) are very often alcoholic, and the amount of “collapse ?cause” jobs that turn out to be drunks is frankly astounding.

My personal view (and not the view of the LAS by any means) would be to prohibit alcohol, but legalize cannabis. Not only would it cut our workload by, at my estimate, 60-70% but I've never had anyone high on cannabis try to hit me. Cannabis users are very rarely violent, tend to be generally easier to handle and seldom get loud and annoying. It's true that there are long term health consequences, and that heavy 'stoners' can waste their life away – but the same holds true of alcohol and alcoholics.

On the rare occasions that I get called to someone on cannabis, it's normally because it is their first time and they feel 'dizzy' – often a pat on the head, and an explanation that this is what is supposed to happen is enough to calm them down, and they will rarely require a trip to hospital. Because the intoxicant effects are fairly self limiting, people tend not to overdose on cannabis, unlike alcohol – which is why you find people collapsed in the street.

There is one problem with the use of cannabis – I'm never sure what to call it in order to sound 'hip to the kids', the slang just befuddles me. Is it 'green', 'pot', 'hash', 'reefer' or 'draw'? At least alcohol is just 'booze'.

12 thoughts on “Booze Or Pot?”

  1. Pot definitely….my experiences working in the NHS tells me if you are going to die by use of your favoured drug then alcohol is a big no no. Liver failure, with oesophageal varices, GI ulcers, lactulose infusions and encephalopathy to spice things up, is a particularily unpleasant way to say goodbye to your loved ones.I have often thought pot should be made available to NHS inpatients, preferably in IV form. Pot would enable them to eat their fine NHS meals, watch daytime television with out going psychotic, and gain the ability to stare at walls for hours, making them ideal patients. Repetitive questions from acute short term memory deficit might be tiresome though.

  2. You know something – I really like your style. I didn't think about the capacity for munchies making hospital food palatable, or to get them sitting quietly, instead of moaning about the wait for a nurse to come along.Shows that I've been out of nursing for too long (or is that 'long enough'?)

  3. RE the terminology inquiry – “weed.” I have also heard it referred to as “herbs,” “poofy” and… “cheerios.”I have enjoyed the use of all the above terms, and will continue to enjoy the etymological evolution of something that never fails to entertain.

    If it's out over there, pick up the DVD of Robin Williams' HBO special, because he's as dead-on as you are comparing the boozers to the poofers.

    — Madpercolator

  4. … wait. … Don't tell me… what was this post about?Hehehehe.

    Also, check into the “towelie” episodes of South Park.

  5. I work as a Tech miself, up here in sunny Manchester, and (like many) came across your blog whilst reading The Grauniad. Have just started reading it, but get the feeling it will keep me amused for hours on station when the jobs eventually quieten down early in t'morning. It's amazing how much in common we all have in our reactions and thoughts on the similar circumstances we encounter in our jobs….anyway, wanted to let you know a few things regarding your 'pot' quandary… I actually use it myself as it's great for putting me to sleep when needed.. re:point about shift turnarounds and the havoc it plays with your body clock. Actually I have become so dependent on this to regulate my body clock, that if 'they' ever did bring in compulsory drug testing, then I would have to think seriously about my career, and whether I could still function with 24hour shift patterns! Some of your readers (and my colleagues) may be alarmed by my admission but the way I see it, it is less of a problem in society than the aforementioned alcohol, that fuels agression, violence and self-delusion. Also in the same way none of us comes to work pissed, or even over the limit, I don't come to work stoned… I wouldn't be able to do the job I love justice! I have my rules and generally only have one mild joint before retiring to bed.

    Oh by the way… I've always called it 'weed' to locals up here, but each area/region has it's slang. Strictly speaking 'hash' is often used to describe the solid 'cannabis' resin type… 'grass' or 'weed' or 'green' is used to describe the other 'marijuana' leafy type… although the terms are often interchangeable.

  6. This is probably out date as well but I always liked “the stuff maaaan“.”Open up the door. It's meeee! It's Daaave! The cops are coming and they might have seen me come in here!”

    “Who is is?”

    “It's Daave!

    “Dave's not here.”

  7. I actually knew someone who overdosed on canabis and became delusional, believing that he was dead for the next 3 years. Long term it can also cause hallucinations. You're right though, alcoholics are far more violent :o)

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