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Trainspotting: the Truth about Scotland and Heroin

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There are certain films in the canon that deserve a place amongst the stars. These movies simultaneously humor us, heart break us and teach us all at once. In the world of drug culture, it’s hard to find examples of cinema that doesn’t simplify and demonize the use of recreational substances. But when Trainspotting, written by the incredible Irvin Welsh and directed by the equally wonderful Danny Boyle, was released in 1996, people knew that they had a nuanced and well-thought out film about heroin addiction on their hands.

Trainspotting forced its way into many viewer’s ‘best films of all time’ list and rightfully so. But why did it hit so differently? Why did a movie about a group of Scottish friends dealing with drug and life issues become such a cult classic? Perhaps it simply told the truth. 

Trainspotting

Trainspotting is a cultural phenomenon that has had a lasting impact on popular culture and public discourse. Originally a novel by Scottish writer Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting was later adapted into a critically acclaimed film directed by Danny Boyle. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Trainspotting follows a group of heroin addicts as they navigate the trials and tribulations of their drug-fueled lives. The film was a major commercial and critical success, earning awards and accolades for its unflinching portrayal of drug use and addiction.

It also has an 8.1 IMDB rating and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. But beyond its entertainment value, Trainspotting was also notable for shining a light on the heroin problem in Scotland, a problem that was particularly acute in the period in which the film was set. We’re going to take a look into Trainspotting’s role in bringing the issue of heroin abuse to the forefront of public discourse, and its lasting impact on society’s perception of drug addiction. Although, let’s be honest, does a film have the power to change the world? 

Heroin in Scotland

Scotland – one of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom – has a very specific identity and character. If you watch Trainspotting, you’ll see that clearly. In the 1990s, Scotland was facing a growing heroin epidemic that was having a devastating impact on individuals, families, and communities across the country. With heroin use on the rise, and a growing number of people struggling with addiction, the Scottish government was grappling with how to respond to the crisis. CNN writes:

In the early 1980s there was a “wave of Afghan and Iranian heroin that came into western Europe, which was very pure by anybody’s standards,”… Even today, older drug users “still wax eloquent about how lovely it was, that heroin that was 50% purity. It didn’t need to be mixed with anything else.”

According to government statistics, the number of heroin users in Scotland rose dramatically in the 1990s, from around 1,000 in 1989 to more than 10,000 by the end of the decade. This rise in drug use was accompanied by a sharp increase in the number of overdose deaths, with heroin being responsible for a significant proportion of the country’s drug-related fatalities.

However, despite the increasing urgency of the problem, public discourse around heroin was limited, with many people unsure of the true extent of the problem and the best ways to address it. In this context, Trainspotting emerged as a powerful voice that shed light on the reality of heroin addiction, and helped to raise awareness of the problem among the wider public. Through its graphic and often shocking portrayal of drug use, Trainspotting challenged prevailing attitudes towards heroin and those who were addicted to it, and opened up a much-needed conversation about the issue.

Public Perception

Trainspotting had a significant impact on the public perception of heroin addiction, with many praising the film for its honesty and authenticity. Although the film and book contains many great moments, one of the most memorable is from Ewan Mcgregor’s character. He says, and Irvine Welsh wrote, this:  


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“Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself”

The ‘choose life’ campaign was a anti-drug concept that aimed to give substance abusers the confidence to say no to drugs. However, what Trainspotting perfectly captures here is that the choice doesn’t seem to be a difficult one. The ‘life’ that they speak of, well, it isn’t so great anyway, is it? It was this truthfulness that highlighted, on a rare occasion, that substance abusers don’t believe life is worth the hassle. For many people in Scotland and the world, their miserable lives are somewhat improved by drugs. Maybe only temporarily, but still improved. Danny Boyle, the director, says:

“It was presenting these voices who are normally marginalized. Drug addicts from the fringe “sinker estates” around Edinburgh — they were on the outskirts of Edinburgh — were regarded as being, at best, victims. At worst, evil. And all stupid; to get involved with this drug and let their lives decay in the way they did. But actually, the book celebrates their energy.”

Highlighting the energy of the user is something that not many did, and still avoid doing. To show an addict as anything other than miserable, ill and unemployed is rare in the media. Trainspotting, whilst horrific and graphic, does show some glimpse of joy in these character’s lives. If you want to portray truth and nuance in a film, you cannot ignore this. Trainspotting wasn’t treating the public like children, it was treating them like adults. It helped to spark a much-needed conversation about the issue.

Political Change

Scotland, like many other nations, still suffers greatly from drug issues. Whilst not much changed in the laws around heroin at the time, the zeitgeist shift was undoubtable. It is this that often causes long-lasting change eventually. After the film came out, the heroin problem continued of course. In 2000 there was a peak of 706 deaths due to this substance in Scotland. Even now, the Scottish death rate due to drug use is the highest in Europe. It’s three and half times that of the UK. Despite this, it is films like Trainspotting that had the guts to shine a light on the truth.

A truth that may not be pretty – although sometimes it can be the prettiest thing in the world – but a truth that must be acknowledged. Art cannot fix a problem, but it can give us the courage and the information to try. Danny Boyle joins a list of many other filmmakers – including the likes of Seth Rogen – who have made it their mission to destigmatize substance use. The war on drugs has not worked and will never work. It is films like Trainspotting that blatantly underlines why a new approach is so desperately needed. 

Conclusion

Whilst Trainspotting did not fix the heroin situation in Scotland, for the first time it highlighted the nuance of it. Millions of people did not understand or even want to understand why people turned to heroin in the 90s. This film, written by Irvin Welsh and directed by Danny Boyle, gave a platform to those individuals. Why would anyone want to choose life when life is full of misery? It left people with this deeply meaningful question. The more films like Trainspotting exist, the closer we as a population can get to treating addicts as people, and not criminals. 

Take a look at this if you want to read more.

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Can You Consume Marijuana On Ozempic

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It is all the rage to lose weight and is causing a stir for several reason.  But can you have a a bit of a vape and chill while on it?

The latest weight loss trend has been the use of Ozempic. A Gallup poll suggested over 6% of adults in the US and Canada have tried it. So over 16+ million have given it a go. Amy Schumer, Kelly Clarkson, Sharon Osbourne, Chelsea Handler, Dolores Catania, Oprah, and Charles Barkley have all tried it. Millions of people struggle with weight and their body image. In the last 12 months 56% of women and almost 42% of men have tried to slim down. And the new hot drug is seen as the silver bullet. But what if you want to relax and chill out while taking it? Can you consume marijuana on Ozempic?

RELATED: 5 Morning Activities To Help You Feel Happier

Some people enjoy eating, the taste of the food and the ritual of dining alone or with friends. Dieting and other weight loss programs are often seen as a punshment or negative. And if you want to chill out, alcohol usually interferes with a slimming routines due to sugar and how it is absorbed in the body. But marijuana is a different story. Ozempic works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone. As those hormone levels rise, the molecules go to your brain, telling it you’re full. It also slows digestion by increasing the time it takes for food to leave the body. This is similar to the effect of bariatric surgery.

With limited research and data, it seems small amounts of alcohol, such as 1-2 drinks per day with food, are generally considered safe based on initial studies. However, alcohol is known to interfere with blood sugar control mechanisms, which Ozempic is aimed at improving. So there could be issue around the success of the routine.

Marijuana thought it different in its makeup and how the body absorbs it. Currently, there hasn’t be in research or data showing marijuana interferes with the drug. But, keep in mind Ozempic may interact with oral forms of cannabis (forms you swallow), such as tablets, capsules, gummies and other edibles.

RELATED: The Most Popular Marijuana Flavors

The side effects can be troublesome and include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and at times diarrhea. These are related  to the same concept regarding the movement of the bowels and the stomach. The benefits come somehow from the same pathway. Beyond gastrointestinal symptoms, the medication can also cause rash, gallbladder issues, abdominal pain.  It is allows important to talk to health professional when starting something which can have an impact on your body and organs.

 



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Classic Marijuana Infused Peanut Butter Fudge

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Delicious and enjoyable all year round this classic sweet will be a hit summer gatherings or a night in!  

Fudge has been been popular for over 100 years popping up at family gatherings, outdoor cookouts and college care packages. Its inexpensive, unrefined qualities made it popular and easy to make. Specialized fudge shops began opening in tourist places such as Mackinac Island, Michigan, in 1887.  It has maintained popularity and then new trend is boozy fudge. But a healthier alternative could be something fun like a classic marijuana infused fudge.

RELATED: Boozy Marijuana Gummies

This classic peanut butter fudge is easy to make. You can share with friends after making or freeze and have a treat from time to time. Wondering about the largest fudge made? It was 5760-pound slab crafted at the Northwest Fudge Factory in Ontario, Canada in 2010. It reportedly took a full week to make, and contained over 705 pounds of butter, 2800 pounds of chocolate, and 305 gallons of condensed milk.

Photos by Danielle Guercio

Classic Marijuana Peanut Butter Fudge

  • 16 oz peanut butter, crunchy covers herb’s texture, if you’re using it.
  • 8 oz powdered sugar
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate
  • 2 oz Herb leftover from butter or tincture making -or-
  • 1 oz cannabis coconut oil or butter
Photos by Danielle Guercio

In a microwave safe container, heat up peanut butter until softened. Mix in herb, the crunchy peanut butter will cover up not only the taste of the bud but the texture of the leaves. This gives you a treat that ends up being A LOT stronger than anticipated.

RELATED: 8 Things You Need To Know About Eating Marijuana Edibles

Add the powdered sugar in three portions until it makes a thick batter. Scoop into a silicone brownie mold for optimal portioning, or in a pinch, a parchment lined cake pan.

Photos by Danielle Guercio

Refrigerate overnight, melt chocolate and put in a sandwich bag. Cut a small hole and drizzle chocolate over fudge pieces. If you used a cake pan, just slice before covering in chocolate.

Photos by Danielle Guercio

If you don’t want to use leftover butter, oil or tincture pressing, you can add 1oz of your favorite extraction, whether oil, butter, or even glycerin tincture. These will make it significantly softer, so keep in the freezer if you don’t plan on sharing with a large crew of people right after making.

Photos by Danielle Guercio

Remember to taste first before you go all out.  Then share with friends!

 

 





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Important Steps If Your Dog Has Marijuana

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Summer is fun, but can be a bit hectic…and one look away and a dog can eat anything – don’t panic, but here are the steps if he gobbles some weed.

Family vacations, car trips, camping, outdoor bbqs…summer is filled with all sorts of great activities. For the 44+% of households who have a dog, it can be a bit of a challenge. Dog are curious, hungry and able to spot a “treat” a hundred miles away.  So don’t panic, but here are the important steps if your dog has marijuana.

Dog sniffs food before they eat it. They are trying to get a good sense of what they are about to consume. If the food is stale or spoiled, they may refuse to eat, or it simply might be because it does not taste/smell good or familiar. It is unlikely a dog will eat flower because of the taste, but edibles, gummies and other things with little smell could be fair game.

brown and black german shepherd lying on gray pet bed

No matter how much marijuana your dog consumes, you should keep an eye on their symptoms and learn what marijuana poisoning looks like. Symptoms can change depending on the size of the dog and the amount of cannabis that was consumed. These can include vomiting, drooling, wobbly movements, barking or howling, lethargy, rapid heart rate and changes in body temperature. While the symptoms seem to be all of ver the place, they reflect how the dog is feeling. Like alcohol, which should never been given to an animal, dogs can’t process why their world is suddenly altered.

“While marijuana is not exactly toxic for dogs, if your dog ate it in the form of an edible, other compounds may cause adverse reactions. Some of the ingredients in edibles, like chocolate or the sugar substitute Xylitol, can be deadly,” says Michael San Filippo, spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

If you are concerned your dog has consumed, the best way to ensure that nothing goes wrong is to contact your vet and if needed to him to emergency care. This lets the experienced experts determine a solution. Be honest with your concerns so they determine the course of treatment and save the life of your dog.

RELATED: Fireworks And Pets, Can Marijuana Or CBD Help

While it’s best to consult a doctor, making your dog vomit is kind of simple and could help them get the toxins out of their stomach. When done within 15 minutes of ingestion, this could help prevent toxins from seeping into their bloodstream. “Give one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide orally per 10 pounds of dog. Your dog should throw up within about 15 minutes,” said Gary Weitzman, president of the San Diego Humane Society.

Another key thing to do is remember a dog is not a human, they can’t reason what is going on, enjoy the journey, chill out and sometimes remember the blue gummy made them sick. No matter the bad experiences, some dogs don’t learn and try to eat something again if it smells ok. Ensure the marijuana and edibles are in a place out of reach, where the elements can’t fall and where the dog won’t be able to find them. All household members should know to keep marijuana out of your pet’s reach.



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