20120730

The "J" Word and who can use it.

I have been called a lot of things in my lifetime. Some good, some bad, some accurate,  and some unprintable but for the purpose of this blog I will say;
I have been called a junkie and I have been called 'Mum'
As someone who has even changed their name I understand more than most the power of language, and of choice. To be called and known by whatever name you chose and not to be defined by an outside source.

Lately there seems to be a bit of confusion around what is and what is not acceptable language to use when talking about people who use drugs, this may be in part to the reclaiming of the word 'Junkie'.
Just as the word 'Queer' was reclaimed by the gay community and is now a celebrated term,  the word 'Junkie' is making a bit of a comeback and being reclaimed by some people who use drugs (not all though).

WARNING ** However just like the word 'N****R' if you DO NOT IDENTIFY as a JUNKIE it is highly offensive to use the word. **

By the same token,if you identify as a person who uses drugs then you can use whatever terminology that you see fit, you can alternate terms and even change your mind - daily- it is your right.
But for the rest of you, even if someone identifies as a "person who uses drugs" and uses the word 'junkie' it does NOT give you the right to use the 'J' word.
 Some people use words without thinking of what they are actually saying. So put some thought into what your saying. Think about the impact your words may have on a persons sense of self and self worth.
If in doubt here are some common words and terms used and the preferred language.

It is NOT OK to say : Drug addict, drug user, junkie, smackie, addict, or any similar term
The correct term is: People Who Use Drugs.

It is simple, its not hard to remember.

This use of language identifies the person first and the action secondly.
It is generic and non-judgemental and is endorsed by INPUD (the International Network of People Who Use Drugs).
Any thoughts?

2 comments:

  1. Hi...Sorry for the anon posting but I'm sure you understand the implications of being "found out" as I am a mother and an IV opiod.... But I just wanted to say I love your perspective. I love being "re-humanized" in such a public place and recognized not only as "an addict that needs sympathy" but in such an unapologetic way. Thank you! :-) RaeRay

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    1. Thanks so much RaeRay for the feedback and to be honest a great reminder of why I do what I do. I do this for people like you. Because no one should feels like a second class citizen based on their choice of drug. Please look me up on facebook and do stay in touch.

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