Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

     There are unfortunately members of the so called harm reduction movement who are in fact invested in the systematic repression of drug user empowerment. Their reasons for "keeping drug users in their place" vary from misguided concepts of what addiction and recovery mean to active drug users, to blatant racism and stigmatization based on internalized stigma projecting outward, and even to base personal reward aka "poverty pimps" using grant money intended for the drug using community to enrich themselves. A prime example is the many members of the non profit industry who refuse to employ active drug users or let them have any say in the decision making process .
    Even when those decisions affect life and death situations for drug users they refuse to allow us to advocate for ourselves. Everywhere that Intravenous Drug Users congregate there should be 24/7 access to clean syringes but instead we see needle exchanges running in the same limited timeslots that they have for generations. Who does this benefit the NGO taking the same old grant money for their once a week two hour window or the drug user who has to resort to attempts to clean a used rig at 2a.m. in the morning?
   This is not to say that good and even great things are being done for drug users in the name of harm reduction. Distribution of needles and naloxone have saved thousands of drug users lives. It's the hangover of paternalistic attitudes that reinforces the belief that active drug users are limited in their abilities to do anything a "non using" person can do that is holding us back from truly enjoying the freedoms promised by the end of the drug war. So do us a favor stop holding us back and you can come forward with us. Or stay a shrouded enemy and reap the karma you sow.