Its offensive John....get it?

Re: Bulletin Edition 10 Offensive Top Ten lists
It is with horror and sadness that I have read the latest bulletin and the ensuing letter mentioning Annie Madden and AIVL.
There are so many things that I find highly degrading, judgemental and offensive about these Top Ten lists that I find it hard to know where to start.
Initially you state the lists are based on fact. Then after public and community outcry I note with actual disbelief a 'clarification' appears on the electronic copy.  For all us silly people who can’t tell a joke from a list of offensive stereotypes. Oh and the letter saying yet again "It's a joke.... get it?'
The worst thing about your response is that the negative response that you have received is from the actual people you are portraying: CNP and OMT clients and staff. And you’re still not listening.
Interestingly you acknowledge in your clarification that it is offensive and that others maybe stigmatised by it and yet because that was not your intention you won’t be recalling the edition.
Try imagining if you were writing about aboriginal people as a group, or people with disabilities or gay people.  You should be recalling the edition.
As a person who has been on both sides of the CNP desk I am telling you, ‘John, it is offensive.... Get it?
It is not acceptable humour.  It is perpetrating a vicious stereotype that demonizes and portrays users in such a negative light, as troublemakers, liars, hustlers and con artists.

I am also concerned that you state it’s all based on actual conversations taking place.
What happened to Dr/ Patient confidentiality?
Or is it just the 'old hands' that you know personally that work in the AOD setting that gossip about their clients and have so little respect or regard for the people they work with?
It’s interesting that the AOD sector as portrayed by Anex seems to lack even a very basic understanding. On that point, do you know what happens to people who miss their methadone appointments? They get punished. They lose TA privileges or get forced to reduce and some even get dropped off the program for three days or sometimes altogether. Faced with those outcomes and the prospect of forced withdrawal or having to go back out onto the street drugs scene again is it any wonder that people are forced to make up excuses. But surely you would know this.
Your article just highlights the desperation people feel. It shows that the system itself is fatally flawed. That the clients’- PWUD are so often in a position of powerless and are routinely discriminated against and victimized by the very people who choose to work in this field.
Prejudice, fixed ideas and judgements that somehow PWUD are different to the rest of us are very dangerous attitudes. PWUD internalise these messages and they believe what is being said about them. This in turn can impact upon and lower self-esteem. Resulting in people not seeking the help/support they need and destroying therapeutic relationships.
Enforcing negative stereotypes about people who use drugs as acceptable 'humour' , makes  you and your mag part of our problem. According to your mag we are dishonest and untrustworthy. We would even lie about our own mother. From someone whose mother is dead this is doubly insensitive and thoughtless.
Heres my Top Ten.
After reading Anex latest article I now KNOW that:
1 My Dr doesn’t believe a word I say.
2 My dispenser doesn’t trust me or understand my issues.
3 That they both laugh and talk openly about me and my problems behind my back.
4 That Anex CEO John Ryan has no idea of what it means to be a PWUD and has shown a monumental lack of compassion and good judgement.
5 I don’t matter and my opinion doesn’t count. It’s just a joke. I have no right to feel this way, Im being too sensitive and making waves.
6 Its ok to be offensive as long as the people with power think it’s funny.
7  Anex does not support people who use drugs to speak up when they feel violated and will keep saying "its a joke' as a way of silencing us
8 Anex does not understand the complex nature and lives of PWUD
9 Complaints need to be followed through on and listened to. Every 1 person who complains represents 100 who felt the same way but didn’t bother to do anything.
10 John Ryan has displayed a lack of genuine concern about the feelings/views of those concerned and an overall lack of integrity in handling this issue.
JOHN RYAN –You need to re-evaluate your own attitude and behaviour or YOU NEED TO RESIGN.
Freedom Vivian

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