Fear Mongers Attack a NYC Harm Reduction Pamphlet that Saves Lives

As I said, I can imagine circumstances where this could have some value in preventing illness and facilitating recovery, but I suspect that the people producing these materials do not share my goal of recovery.
I do not oppose harm reduction, if it’s aligned with the goal of facilitating recovery.
I understand that there is scientific evidence demonstrating that HR reduces disease transmission and other health problems, but some of these advocates are very tone deaf. While accusing others of moral panic or fear mongering, they fail to comprehend the way many of us view addiction–as something akin to slavery due to compromised free will where drug use is concerned.
Would there be a basis of for criticizing programs targeting slaves to enhance their health and life satisfaction? On its face, helping improve health and wellbeing is a good thing, but wouldn’t it be better to also be an abolishionist?
Some more narrow public health examples might be programs to educate and provide sterile cutting equipment to people who engage in self-mutilation or communities that practice female circumcision.
Is it unreasonable to question these responses to these problems? Is it too much to ask that the professional helpers participating in these responses seek to facilitate an end to the behavior? Why is that so controversial?
On the other hand, a reader offered the following comment:

Unfortunately the tone and language of the article would seem to suggest that some “critics” do seem guilty of judgmentalness, if not exactly “moral panic”

  • “offers dope fiends such useful advice”
  • “spells out how junkies should ready their fix”

if the article was describing advice for hypertensives or diabetics the language would likely be a little more respectful.

Jane Doe 🙂

8 thoughts on “Fear Mongers Attack a NYC Harm Reduction Pamphlet that Saves Lives

  1. just calling a junky a junky and a dope fiend a dope fiend. if the name fits wear it.

  2. You prove the commenter's point and demonstrate that stigma is alive and well.

  3. I understand how the terms dope fiend and junky may seem stigmatizing and disrespectful, whether they are or not is debatable.They are certainly not clinical terms. Heroin addicts are not stupid,in fact many are more bright than the professionals who attempt to serve them. This pamphlet assumes that heroin addicts are idiots and if we use cooler, hipper language on our crappy pamphlets they will somehow have more street credibility.

  4. Why do people keep comparing addicts to people with diabetes and high blood pressure. It is not a valid comparison. If addicts would stop taking drugs their "disease" would go away. If addicts acted like people with diabetes or high blood pressure act instead of acting like addicts then maybe people would have more sympathy. But, they don't, they act like addicts then when they get caught comitting crimes they complain that they are sick and need treatment not consequences for their crimes. People with diabetes and high blood pressure don't do that.

  5. I agree with the above post. Addicts act like jerks. If they would just act like people with real chronic conditions then they would get treated better. They dont deserve to be treated well because they act like idiots.They should be punished instead of treated. They should just stop using and they would be fine.

  6. SOME addicts commit crimes. What about the majority of addicts that don't commit crimes? If you plan to retort with the fact that possession of drugs is a crime, what about alcoholics who don't commit crimes?As for the comparison with high blood pressure and diabetes, there are behaviors that contribute to the development, course and treatment outcomes for those conditions. If they followed a prescribed diet and exercised, many of them would be asymptomatic. Does that mean that it's not a disease? Does that mean that we should deny them care for those conditions?

  7. If you think the behavior of drug addicts is comparable to people with other chronic illnesses then either you have never been around a drug addict or you have only been around drug addicts and do not know any non-addict people. It is not just the illegal activities, "criimes cmmitted"- it is how addicts treat everyone around them. They make life miserable for people they live with and work with, when they do work. They use and manipulate everyone around them, all the time. Sure there are exceptions; there are some addicts who do not act horrible to everyone and there are some diabetics who do treat others badly, but neither is the norm by far. Addicts treat people badly and use them, and anyone who has lived with an addict knows that to be the norm whether you have statistics to prove it or not. People should be accountable for their actions and behaviors. If addicts want people to want to help them with their chronic disease, then maybe people would have more sympathy for them and their chronic disease if they were not treated so badly by addicts.

  8. Well, if addiction can be framed as an illness (and it is by the World Health Organisation, the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association and many others) then some of the symptoms of the illness are unpleasant behaviours.We aren't used to thinking of behaviours as being 'symptoms'. We think that behaviours are all simply choices. The idea that we all have the ability to make healthy choices all the time is spurious. In addiction there is plenty of evidence that this ability is greatly impaired. In recovery it starts to return.Sure addictive behaviours can be unpleasant and hurtful, but that doesn't mean that the people who are trapped in addiction are not suffering too. Addiction is suffering. Addicts are often full of shame over their actions. The moral model of addiction is pretty impotent in helping bring about change. Healing and getting well is a great way to frame recovery.

Comments are closed.