We’re not on the same side

Nice People Use Drugs

What is there to say? Of course it’s true. But there are a lot of statements that are true but make for terrible public education slogans. I suspect this agency is very concerned about HIV prevention. (I am too and have no problem with condom distribution.) What would they think of the slogan, “Condom users get HIV”? It’s true that some condom users still get STDs, and it’s probably even true that most people who acquire HIV through sex used condoms sometimes, but it’s a terribly misleading statement isn’t it?

It’s clear that they view drug use as a lifestyle choice. Surely, for some people, they are. For the addicted, they are not a choice, they are a form of holistic enslavement, and addictive drug use occurs in the context of terrible personal and social costs. The drug problem is a serious, complicated problem. The status quo is unacceptable. Serious reform is needed. However, the triteness of this slogan has got to be very troubling to anyone who cares deeply about the suffering caused by drugs.

If they really just want to reduce stigma, how many other messages could they have tried? What does choosing this message say about their values.

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