Kava - the annoying bit

I now have personal reasons to dislike the Howard government's actions on "helping" Indigenous Australians - Kava will now no longer be shipped to Australia.

This is a pity... and quite stupid. Moreover it shows a complete lack of understanding of Kava.

How about this from the ABC:

Kava is an alcoholic beverage used in traditional ceremonies and for social occasions in many of the Pacific Islands.

The Federal Government has banned the importation of the intoxicating drink in commercial quantities, except for medical or scientific use.

What garbage. Kava is not alcoholic in any way. Alcohol cannot be distilled into a powder, which is what Kava is when you buy it.

Like anything, Kava can be abused (though I don't know why anyone would willingly consume bucketloads of the stuff unless they've completely lost their tastebuds). Other things that can be abused are alcohol, tobacco, fast food and powerful cars.

From my understanding, Kava does not have any of the societal problems associated with the consumption of alcohol. Kava does not make anyone aggressive... in fact it helps people become placid. I've seen people smashed out of their brains on alcohol and anyone in that position is capable of doing great damage. A person smashed out on Kava just lies down and falls asleep.

Kava has nothing to do with the problems in Northern Australia (violence, child abuse). In fact, it probably has helped these communities avoid some of these bad things.

I'm not saying that Kava is completely safe. If abused too much it can lead to liver damage and skin rashes. Too much Kava can make you too drowsy to wake up in the morning. In these doses it obviously affects people's lives badly.

Yet the way in which we white folk deal with our abuse of certain things is via education. We have TV ads warning us of the danger of alcohol if abused, or of the long term effects of smoking, or of speeding in our cars. It's through education that these things are being dealt with.

But, of course, when it's black people that are the problem, we come up with different solutions. Banning Kava will not make a scrap of difference in helping people in Northern Australia.

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