Living life “out there” as the saying goes is becoming increasingly common, with issues which were once kept within the confines of family and immediate friends being vented in public.
Modern technology is providing the means to disseminate subjects that once were not promoted but the technical equipment is only a source of communication, while people using it are responsible for deciding to air various incidents.
Telephones distributing comments and blogs are called “smart” even if such a label may not sit so easily with some who operate them and certain print publications and television shows, especially those from the US frequently see domestic disputes, other relationship squabbles and matters which were formerly regarded as “dirty laundry” being publicly canvassed.
Judgments can be cast by those with either legal or psychological knowledge, or others who merely want to plug in to happenings outside of their personal orbits.
Problems affecting families in relation to drug use can be among matters that are no longer kept “in house”.
Revelations to parliament earlier this month by Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie provided an example of the trend towards taking personal or family problems public. She wasn’t using any new technology but she was revealing matters of a type that many among previous generations would have wanted to keep out of the spotlight.
Ms Lambie told parliament and through media coverage stemming from that, potentially the nation, about her 21-year-old son’s addiction to the drug ice.
She expressed her inability to help him recover saying she had no control over him, was not able to talk to him and had asked him to leave her residence.
Regardless of feelings about her political views and some less than tasteful earlier statements she was reflecting a situation faced by many families which like the case she outlined, has seen addicts stealing to fund their habits.
Drug problems have increased through recent generations with users moving from marijuana to substances such as cocaine and more recently to ice, which can provoke extremely violent behaviour.
Some counsellors and police claim that the use of ice is reaching epidemic levels, especially in certain areas where the drug trade has become rife.
Senator Lambie revealed that even with what she called her “title” as a senator, she found that instead of discussing things with her son, she was “talking to a drug”.
She added that thousands of people were similarly affected. The families of two former NSW premiers can provide sad testimony, having lost members to drugs arguably less potent than ice.
Shortly after her revelations, the federal government announced a national “dob in a dealer” hotline to try to deal with the ice menace.
No initiative should be rejected in this difficult battle, but successive police crackdowns have failed to stem the drug problem, and a possible advertising campaign is also being questioned after a national taskforce on ice warned that it may prove counter-productive.
Their concern was that ads showing the effects of the drug could encourage its use by people who are either keen to try a source of stimulation or who may perceive the airing of drug use through the media as some indication that it may be considered normal. Fortunately, not everyone would see it that way but those potentially prone to addiction could do so.
Open to further question is whether Senator Lambie and others who take their problems public may be helping to deal with the issues that they face. While her story resonated with many people who were upset, just as she was about living with the disturbing realities of illicit drugs, she may not have assisted relations with her son.
Contemplation through spending time at prayer is a long way removed from sharing difficulties with other people but it can assist in dealing with troubled times when easy answers can’t be found.
Those either directly or as part of families who are touched by the scourge of drugs could well find some consolation from such a contemplative practice – and many of them may benefit from our own prayers whether they are suffering in private or choosing to go public.