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Flip City... The Psychotropics and You

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University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario: 16mm.
"FLIP CITY explores drug use and abuse and the information and misinformation that is spread about drugs. Produced in 1971, the film addresses an issue of great prevalence for the time. Ottawa is the location of the film's production and several Ottawa experts on drug use, as well as groups of students are interviewed. Rates of alcoholism in Ottawa are comparable to that of cities of similar size in other parts of Canada. The drug use patterns are similar as well. One of the people interviewed in the film refers to television as an instrument which parents have utilized as a means of childcare. Thus, young people watching television see commercials which often promote the use of various drugs as the answer to many ailments. They soon see the use of drugs as way to self-help. An analyst from the Food and Drug Directorate discusses various kinds of drugs—marijuana, hashish, L.S.D., speed, and MDA. Canada imports 600 million doses of barbituates each year—the equivalent of 30 sleeping pills for every man, woman and child—accounting for over 60,000 barbituate and tranquilizer poisonings. Approximately 60 million amphetamines were produced for the Canadian market—two speed pills per person. A recent survey showed that people who profess no religious denomination are the most likely users of these drugs. Jews are more likely to use them than Protestants or Roman Catholics. A survey also showed that the pattern for the non-medical use of drugs is the same as that for those which are legally sanctioned. 80 percent of Canadians over the age of fifteen use alcohol: every year two billion dollars is spent for 350 million gallons of alcoholic beverages—175 gallons of spirits, wine and beer for each member of the population. The use of alcohol is so widely accepted in our society that very few people are willing to accept it as a drug even though alcohol abuse presents the most serious and widespread drug problem. One out of every forty Canadians is an alcoholic. The apathy, illness and superficiality of society as a whole also affects the young people of our culture. They, however, tend to display their behavioural difficulties in different and less socially acceptable ways. The adult population seems to be able to live with its own illness and apathy much more easily than it can face reminders of this illness in the flagrant displays of youth. We need to become better informed about drugs. The Department of Pharmacology at Ottawa University is looking for clarification of the way in which some of the psychoactive and hallucinogenic drugs produce their effects. They are conducting their studies with the use of experimental animals. The pharmaceutical explosion occurred coincident to our development of greater technology, wealth and leisure time. People begin to explore the use of substances as a way of recreating. When something is made attractive and adult, it appeals to adolescents because they are struggling to enter the adult world. The film asks whether or not the truth about drugs and drug abuse can be told as it is. Students say that scaring people is not the right way to inform them. Several people discuss the addictive quality and effects of speed. Workers from the Ottawa Street Clinic address the problem of not having anything to offer the speed abuser to get him out of his old environment and into a new one. Drug addiction is not just a legal problem, but a social one as well. Drug abuse is often related to human problems. Young people are legitimately afraid of the law, says one judge, because of the way the law it set up. Both the Narcotics Act and the Food and Drug Act are criminal statutes and charges laid under either lead to a criminal record. Young people are more likely to follow their own moral and ethical judgements than the letter of the law. One person points out that drugs are not the problem. The problem lies in the reason why people take drugs."