Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nothing About Us Without Us? Are You Sure About That?

    Why is it important for those who claim to speak for us to identify as drug users?
We at DURAN  strongly believe that if you are making decisions on our behalf and yet are afraid to identify as a drug user then you may be part of the problem.We are so stigmatized by the labels placed upon us that we have to reclaim our identity and make it reflect the truth. The truth is that we are beautiful positive people who desire to have control over our bodies and what we choose to ingest.
    It is not a question of martyrdom or asking anyone to confess to illegal activity.The criminal justice systems of the world make being fully truthful dangerous for us and no one should risk incarceration unnecessarily. The reality of the situation is that if you have ever been busted for drugs, been forced into rehab, failed a drug test, or just looked high one time back in the 80's you have been labeled a "drug user" and you might as well wear it with pride. The old adage "once an addict always an addict" may not be technically true but "once stigmatized, affected for the rest of our lives" is a certain truth for drug users in this society.
   Check out the previous blog post "Definition of a Drug User" and you will see that the definition is broad.Therefore if you are ready to "come out" as a drug user and participate in our struggle for dignity and human rights then you are welcome to speak as a member of our tribe.If not then we will rightfully question your motives because it is necessary for our survival.

Why are bath salts and synthetic cannabis a problem?

They are a "problem" because methamphetamine and cannabis are illegal. This forces drug users, especially those being tested for drugs to seek untested and unregulated alternatives. See how prohibition is unhealthy for drug users and other living things?
See this article Mesh Report: Bath Salt Ban which points out the fact that emergency room medics and other first responders would rather be dealing with a drug user high on methamphetamine or cocaine than bath salts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Greatest Way To Reduce Harm To Drug Users Is To Empower Them

     The fact is most drug users around the globe have been brainwashed into believing they have no power and are less than human. This is not true. Drug users no matter what or how much they are using can advocate for themselves and each other. We need help and assistance from health agencies, social justice organizations and other allies. What we do not need is to be treated in a paternalistic manner as if we were mentally handicapped children, nor as amoral criminals beyond redemption.     
    We are considered beyond redemption unless we get "clean" and conform to a moral standard that does not exist in reality and also belies ignorance that drug use is an integral part of the human condition. It is time for drug users to escape such bondage and declare that we are through playing the shame game. Released from the mental shackles of shame and stigma we can see each other for who we truly are, human beings capable of much more than we have been led to believe.
   The time has come for the billion plus drug users around the globe to assert themselves and demand to be treated with respect and dignity instead of incarceration, torture, and murder. We do not need any ones permission to advocate and organize for ourselves. Our greatest enemy will be the internalized stigma that has been forcefully ingrained in us by the hypocrites who seek to keep drug users enslaved by their judgemental condemnation.