We need new definitions for many words.  Here is a quote from Dr. Carl Hart an addiction scientist.

ADDICTION–  (the question:  It seems you have a problem with the word addiction?)

The way some people define it, and the way the current DSM defines it, too.

I hate the current DSM — it’s too easy now for anything to become “addiction.” There are about a dozen symptoms, and all you need is two. Craving can be one, and tolerance can be another. So somebody says, “Man, I really crave smoking a joint, but I’m in school, so I know I can’t smoke, but I still have this intense craving for it”–and if they also have some level of tolerance or something else of that nature [i.e., another of the symptoms listed in the DSM], they actually meet the criteria for addiction. It makes absolutely no sense.

You could meet the same criteria for pizza.

That’s exactly right, and that’s the problem I have. Is marijuana “addictive”? I think that’s sort of a stupid conversation.  Dr. Carl Hart

Addict–  We love to refer to people as addicts (people known to have or be struggling with drugs /and alcohol.  And people who struggle with drugs and alcohol often refer to their selves as addicts.  This is a stigmatizing word that we should avoid calling others and ourselves.  “Hello, I am Jude and I’m an addict”.  This does damage to people.  People are defining their selves with something negative.  Even if you believe it to be true, you would not say ” Hello, I’m Jackson and I’m Cancer.  We should never define a person by a difficult situation.  I am a mother, an educator, a tax paying American Citizen. …  You get the point.  People dislike addiction, they don’t respect it, look up to people who are “recovering” for the most part.  They are waiting for the “addict” to fail.  So let’s not define our whole selves using one word that makes women look for their pocketbooks.  We are more than our struggles, our illnesses, and our failures.  Words affect how people behave.

CLEAN-  “I’ve been clean for 90 days”  (This implies that I was dirty prior to the 90 days of abstaining)   Language affects behavior more than people might think.  If I believe I was dirty then I believe I was bad.  It really is that simple.  There is an arrogance to this statement that has no value.   You went out last night and “got dirty”  eww your nasty!! It is the silliest thing we do in life:  I’m better than you because I’m clean and your dirty!  There is enough stigma in the world without drug users adding to the stigma.

We also should not say,  ” you are using clean rigs, right?” .  Clean implies washed, bleached something of that nature and that is not what we mean.  We should always say, “Use Sterile supplies”

IDU-  When you see IDU it means Injection drug user.

NEP-  When you see NEP it means Needle Exchange Program.

SEP-  When you see SEP it means Syringe Exchange Program.

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *