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Drug users should not be called junkies campaigners say

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  • Drug users should not be called junkies campaigners say

    Users of cannabis, cocaine and heroin are victims of discrimination and should no longer be called druggies or junkies, an international drug legalisation pressure group declared yesterday.
    It called for an end to negative language for drug users and their habits in order to ensure their human rights are respected.
    As part of the drive to persuade people to think differently about drugs, the words addict and even drug user must be thrown out, a report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy said.
    It urged newspapers and broadcasters to encourage more positive attitudes by calling a drug user a ‘person who uses drugs’.

    Instead of calling someone addicted to heroin a junkie, they should be said to be someone who ‘has a heroin use disorder.’

    A recreational drug user should be referred to as a ‘person with non-problematic drug use’ and a former addict should not be described as clean, it said.
    Even the word addict itself should go, to be replaced by phrases such as ‘person with substance use disorder’, the report said.

    The Commission, launched six years ago by financier George Soros with the aim of legalising drugs, has British members who include former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg and Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson.


    Publication of its report, Countering Prejudices Against People Who Use Drugs, was Sir Richard’s second intervention in the drugs debate within a week.

    Last Friday Sir Richard posted a message on the Virgin website calling restrictive moves on cannabis law by Donald Trump’s administration ‘a throwback to the worst days of the failed war on drugs.’

    The Commission report said: ‘Commonly encountered terms such as junkie, drug abuser, and crack head are alienating, and designate people who use drugs as others – morally flawed and inferior individuals.

    ‘Such stigma and discrimination, combined with the criminalization of drug use, are directly related to the violation of the human rights of people who use drugs in many countries.
    ‘Therefore, in order to change how drug consumption is considered and how people who use drugs are treated, we need to shift our perceptions, and the first step is to change how we speak.’
    Laws banning drugs make users ‘scapegoats for wider societal problems’, the report said. Crime, it added, is not a result of drug use, but when users get criminal records for drugs it makes ‘the illegal market and criminal activity among their only means of survival.’
    It added that ‘individuals with problematic drug use often cannot afford the drugs they need without resorting to crime themselves.’
    The Commission report follows figures published by the Office for National Statistics last summer that showed seven out of 10 of a record number of deaths in England and Wales from drug poisoning in 2016 were caused by illegal drugs.
    The ONS said the high death toll was a result of a fashion for heroin in the last decades of the 20th century, and ‘heroin users often have a range of complex physical illnesses as a result of long-term drug use, which may make them particularly vulnerable to death from drug misuse.’
    The past few years have also seen a flood of scientific reports which have established links between cannabis and serious mental illness and violent crime, and pointed to the reality of a ‘gateway effect’ onto harder drugs for cannabis users.
    Anti-drug campaigners warned against efforts to change the way people think about drugs by sanitising the way people talk about them.
    Kathy Gyngell, a fellow of the Tory-leaning Centre for Policy Studies think tank, said: ‘This attempted manipulation of language reveals the Commission for the control freaks they really are.
    ‘This is an Orwellian newspeak strategy to disguise what every parent or child of a drug addict knows is a very unpleasant and destructive reality.’





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    Users of cannabis, cocaine and heroin are victims of discrimination and should no longer be called druggies or junkies, an international drug legalisation pressure group declared yesterday.

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