“Be in charge of your drug use!”

This article exemplifies what’s wrong with a lot of harm reduction activism and (unfortunately) the reporting of the alternative press.

  • The anecdotal report of a program focusing on 12 to 23 year old sex workers from Chicago is presented as “shooting down” hype around the Monitoring the Future survey.
  • They present any increase in use of painkillers as prescribed medical use. Past year non-medical use of painkillers by 18-25 year olds is at 11.9%. I find that shockingly high.
  • They characterize drug use and sex work by the women in the story as a simple lifestyle choice. I’m all for reducing stigma, but let’s treat these women the way we’d want our sisters and daughters treated. Treat them with acceptance and compassion–and get them help. Some of these girls are in their early teens.
  • Talking about how great it is that these kids are better educated about the drugs they are using.
  • Telling a 13 year old to “be in charge of [her] drug use.”