Drug related stigma and the language we use
For people who use drugs or have in the past, stigma is a barrier to a wide range of opportunities and rights. This is especially true for individuals from marginalized communities, as they have been historically the target of militant drug policies that focused on arrest rather than rehabilitation. The language that is used when discussing drug usage has the potential to further perpetuate the false notion that those that use drugs are inherently “bad people.” Mainstream media has played a role in creating a story that some drug users deserve more sympathy than others because of socioeconomic class and race. Below are some resources and further explanations as to how stigma has shaped drug usage and accessibility to safe supplies and rights.
Some other resources…
Stigma and People Who Use Drugs Fact Sheet from Drug Policy Alliance
Principals of Harm Reduction from Harm Reduction Coalition
Stigma Reducing Language from Shatterproof
Whitewashing of the Opioid Crisis from the Chicago Reporter
Opioids and Race from Changing the Narrative
The War on Drugs: From Prohibition to Gold Rush by Jay-Z and Molly Crabapple
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