Let’s Talk About Real Compassion for Addicts, Please

For too long in our country, the rhetoric in the War on Drugs has focused on representing drug users as the “other,” as the bad guys in this culture war.

Those who preach compassion and rehabilitation and harm reduction instead of criminalization are often dismissed as “bleeding heart liberals” willing to give anyone a free pass for bad behavior.

When those who advocate a compassionate approach to drug addiction point out users’ self-reported histories which often include abuse and trauma, those histories are met with skepticism at best and generally dismissed as unimportant.

Now, research is showing that those histories and the social stigma created by treating drug addicts as users are a substantial component of what keeps people addicted.