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Author Topic: Preferred Terminology for Substance Use/Users  (Read 1742 times)

Offline Chip (OP)

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Preferred Terminology for Substance Use/Users
« on: March 24, 2021, 12:05:37 PM »
source: the email group / see the attachment at the bottom of the page

The new preferred terminology for substance use/users.

I suppose it's more politically correct - your opinion may differ.

Feel free to discuss.

Post Merged: March 24, 2021, 12:17:37 PM
a reply from from Fluffhead from the email group:

Ash, why language matters for

Well I didn’t plan on spending my Sunday night like this but I feel
strongly compelled to respond. So let’s go through one by one. I was the
first to admit, that I myself was so used to this language that it felt
hokey at first. What I mean by that is this his language we all use and are
comfortable with. At first I wondered... are we trying to hard to be
politically correct? and then I told a close friend. The last thing I wanna
do is be part of the problem. I will keep a completely open mind and give
this a shot.

Here’s what happened to me. For example, when you just said.

“ I don't get how person who uses drugs is any better or different than
drug user.”

Because you acknowledge this is a person first. As sad as it is, we have to
put in effort to ever hope to break a cycle where people acknowledge this
is a human being just like them. Therefore, they are a person that also
happens to use drugs. Not their whole existence reduced to merely “DRUG

Just because substance use is part of my story, that does not mean I am not
entitled to the same dignity as any other medical patient. However I could
go into details if any of you’ve never experienced this. I can easily give
examples without much thought of the treatment that perpetuates the cycle
of shame, lo self-esteem, unworthiness, less than etc. For the rest of you
I feel certain you know exactly what I mean.

Moving along.... in response to the second part of the statement.

“ Its like how they say colored people is bad and people of color is good.

I am a white male. I can never truly understand what it’s like to be a
black person trying to live your life in America. I would never equate my
experience above with that. With that said, my experience listed above it
just enough of a similar mindset of folks that it has led me to a greater
understanding of what they may feel from different people in society.
Its like how they say colored people is bad and people of color is good.

Not to mention the last time I heard the term “colored folk or colored
people” that’s just a bad one there. So I’m gonna stick to the larger
points here.

Again, part of healing generations of pain. Starts with acknowledging you
are a person first. Just as I am. You deserve the same respect & dignity as
everyone else. They are not defined by their color, that is not their whole
sense of self... being a black/latino etc person. They are a person first
and being black is just one aspect of their existence.

It has a lot to do with a sense of identity. Some people when I asked to
describe them selves may start with whatever their profession is. Others
may state their a mother or a father first. Okay, to each their own,
nothing at all wrong with that.

But if you take something that has historically been used to hurt you. Such
as a drug user. And others choose to use that as your your primary sense of
identity. Again, with repeated patterns, more damage is done. It is a
self-repeating cycle. Then maybe you’re not a father first anymore.  ...
NO.     You’re a drug user. This is one of the many things that bothers me
about AA/NA.

Or your not a fashion designer first. You’re a black person. There is a big
exception to this though. If you choose to take that and empower your self
with it. Beautiful!!! Good for you.

A perfect example.... when you mentioned.

“Or African American is somehow different than African American.”

I hope by this point of the conversation you understand how unbelievably
massive that difference is. And how non of this should ever be minimized as
just word choice in a sentence. Such as ...

“ Going to is the same as goin to.”

So, that’s where I’m coming from on that.

But since we have all these years where it has been used negatively from
other people. I think we all need to look in the mirror and see what we can
do to improve things regardless of how open minded we think we are. And I
am speaking from experience. That’s why I said once I got past my own
bullshit of thinking “is the harm reduction community trying too hard to be
politically correct?!?”. Eventually I realized, no. That’s not it at all.
We are trying to be part of the solution.

And that’s when I started actively trying to change the way I communicated.
Because language matters
« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 12:48:21 PM by Chip »
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