August 24, 2010

♫ We know Major Tom’s someone who relies on drugs, takes drugs regularly and has issues that need to be dealt with ♫… Would David Bowie’s ‘Ashes to Ashes’ become an album track in its own right if the UK Drug Policy Commission have their way.

After a six month ‘report’, the UK Drug Policy Commission has come out with the outstanding idea that those who are regularly taking and reliant on heroin should not be referred to as “junkies” or “addicts”… because it causes offence!

While this report probably amounts to a complete waste of time and money, it’s findings are that drug addicts faced stigma because of the terms that they are referred to by. It would seem a fair certainty that any drug abuse is likely to have a stigma attached to it no matter whether it has a title or not.

It was recently suggested that we should stop calling overweight people obese and return to using fat. The logic being that everyone knows that the word obese was being used to mean fat. This belief was that the stigma associated with being called fat would embarrass people encouraging them to lose weight. Given the ever expanding population, it would appear that finding a ‘nice’ word to describe someone’s problem doesn’t help them as the world is increasingly getting obese but less fat… the consolation is that fat people could no longer be branded ‘food junkies’!

Not everyone will react well to being shown-up by the use of a negative word but there are those who will react to it. However, the problem(s) that drives someone to drug abuse are far greater than being labelled a junkie. In every society there is misuse of words but changing the vocabulary is only disguising the problem.

It should be suggested to the Drugs Commission that they discuss their findings in more detail and find some new words if they believe it will make any difference. But, perhaps, they should consider this; eventually any ‘new’ word will develop the stigma and everyone will understand exactly what it means.

Last updated: August 24, 2010 at 10:00 am