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'.