I dont know all the specifics or if there are holes and problems in this programm, and this is by no means me saying switzerland is a cool place, but Switzerland was one of the first countries to implement a thorough harm reduction (not just decriminalisation of addiction) programm. in the early 1980s there was a huge uptick in heroin use and overdose death, and not surprisingly this was followed by a disproportinately large presence of HIV in switzerland a few years later.
and what did the officials do? recognize addiction as a sociopsychological health issue and provide help to addicts, and that in the 1980s! if someone is addicted to heroin in switzerland, they are entitled to pick up medicinal grade, as in not cut with toxic substances and you actually know how much heroin is in the solution so you can avoid an overdose, from the pharmacy with a prescription, and can access facilities specificially desiged for addicts with clean injection rooms, bathrooms, emergency night shelters, social workers, doctors and nurses, psychological support and clean injection utensils.
and as it turned out, when you provide addicts with clean heroin, they are no longer forced to steal, engage in relatively high risk street based sex work, and can think about getting better cause you can spend your time and energy on something else than scoring the next shot. IIRC somewhere around 70% of all Heroin addicts in switzerland are in this programme, and two thirds of them have regular jobs. new hiv infections were cut to a third and overdose deaths were cut in half
its almost like addicts are very vulnerable humans with human needs but the way their humanity is entirely disregarded by many and in many insitutions all over the world is not going to solve any drug problem, ever
Did you know that Narcan/Naloxone kits are free at many pharmacies? Totally free!
-“I don’t use opioids, why should I carry a kit?” For the same reason it’s good to know other forms of first aid and be prepared! Plus you probably have people around you who do just based on the whole “living in a society” thing.
-“That sounds really scary to use, I don’t know how to administer it” Don’t worry, your pharmacist will give you a tutorial with lots of detail.
-“Giving a stranger a shot isn’t something I could do, I’m afraid of needles” You’ve got two options there: One version of the kit has a nasal spray, so zero needle. But even the injectable version is not actually that complicated, and you’ll get shown how to administer, and where. Either way, you’re covered!
-“I’m scared of the stigma of asking my pharmacist” You can just get it at another pharmacy, if you’re worried about that.
Almost nobody seems to know that this is absolutely a free, simple thing you can get that could save a life! I only talk about Ontario here because that’s where I am, but anyone who has more regional information should add to this.
If hitting bottom helped people, there would be no addicts at all in the Downtown Eastside. ‘Bottom’ is very relative, so it’s a meaningless concept. For me as a doctor, rockbottom might be losing my medical license, but what is a bottom for a person who has been abused all her life and lives on the street? It’s meaningless and false. People don’t need more negative things to happen to them to give it up. They need more positive things to happen. In 12 years of work on the Downtown Eastside, I didn’t meet an [addicted] woman who was not sexually abused as a child.
[Addicts] relationship to authority figures is one of fear and suspicion. How will it help if I punish them more? They need the very opposite. We end up punishing them for self-soothing. It makes no sense at all. Harm reduction is not an end in itself. Ideally, what it is is a first step towards a more thorough-going [recovery], but you have to begin with where people are at.
Addictions always originate in unhappiness, even if hidden.
They are emotional anesthetics; they numb pain. The first question — always — is not “Why the addiction?” but “Why the pain?” The answer, ever the same, is scrawled with crude eloquence on the wall of my patient Anna’s room at the Portland Hotel in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside: “Any place I went to, I wasn’t wanted. And that bites large.”
So many of y'all in the tumblr drug community definitely have a chip on your shoulder. You all seem to forget that you were once a naive beginner at some point as well. I know for a damn fact that some of you guys didn’t figure your shots or snorted paracetamol or tried shooting xanax and whatever other dumb shit so I think we all need to stop treating beginners like pieces of shit. Hindsight is always 20/20. It’s easy for you to laugh and poke fun at someone when you have the knowledge and know what you’re doing (more or less cause some of you guys are still dumb as fuck even after 10 years of using) but really it’s just unnecessary and mean. I can understand if someone is just lacking basic common sense but not snorting Xanax because it isn’t soluable and has a lower BA anyways is not common sense. This is supposed to be a safe, non judgmental place for fellow addicts to come, share and discuss their daily struggles as well as the good times.
I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this too because I am. I’ve definitely had a laugh and called people out for snorting massive amounts of paracetamol before but I regret it and wish I would’ve handled it differently. So let’s just help the beginners, let’s tell them how they can be safe and reduce many of the risks out there associated with drug use. Let’s not make them feel stupid for making a mistake or not knowing something. That doesn’t mean you can’t be straightforward, just don’t be mean.
A few words of advice to beginners out there: ALWAYS do your research. That is common sense. If you’re going to be ingesting something new, look it up. It’s stupid to put something in your body that you know absolutely nothing about and don’t even know how to properly dose. Don’t take people’s words for it - often times people on Tumblr or drug forums are wrong but swear they’re right. Don’t take their word for it, do your own research and decide for yourself. Be accepting of help and advice that people are offering, it’s okay to be wrong or to mess up. There’s no point in lying especially because quite often, we know when you are. (Life tip: don’t lie about something you know nothing about because you may end up saying something that makes absolutely NO sense or is just incredibly stupid and/or extremely unlikely because people WILL know). Be safe and don’t be stupid. Don’t try to be the new Christine F. please. That’s stupid and offensive and people will get pissed if they notice you’re doing this just because of a movie or because of Tumblr or whatever the fuck. Addiction is a serious fucking problem, not a game so do not make light of it. Doing drugs will more likely than not ruin your relationships, work/school, your health, your mind and your entire life. Never forget that.
Unfollow those sad/depressed/negative pages and hashtags. They don’t make you feel better or understood, even if you think so.
You might not believe me, but its proven that the things you surround yourself with affect you, so if you surround yourself with pics of selfharm and sad quotes, you’ll find yourself feeling even worse.
These pages are so harmful, so please be good to yourself and unfollow them NOW.
This is, on the one hand, very helpful! Making sharps easier to safely dispose of is not a bad thing.
But having these containers come in the place of and at the expense of needle exchange sites, which are SO MUCH MORE effective at getting people to safely dispose of their sharps? That’s prioritising the public perception of stray needles as a huge risk to public health over actual public health.
Needle exchange is controversial because it helps keep injection drug users healthy but drug users are not some isolated group—they’re members of the community and things that keep people who use injection drugs healthy keep ALL of the community healthy.
I 100% support the harm reduction approach to drug laws. If the law isn’t lowering drug use or making it safer for the public it shouldn’t exist. Banning drugs only leads to more communicable diseases and more unsafe/impure drugs(the reason bath salts and Chinese fentanyl are on the streets is because of bad drug laws). Things like legal cannabis and clean needle exchanges make my life at work easier and safer.
Ingredient labels? Such coddling. If you can’t cope with your food allergies, then you clearly have no place buying food in the supermarket. Besides, ingredient labels won’t help prevent ALL allergic reactions.
There is a new drug on the street, it’s called w-18, it is legal right now in Canada and can apparently be up to 100 times stronger than fentanyl. People are selling it in Alberta as fentanyl, but I imagine it will be a really common buff in heroin as well. Please please please be careful, take a test shot with every new batch you get and try to avoid getting high alone! With today’s technology you never know what could be in it
Hey hi hello, if you have the time and you are interested in drugs, please check out my favorite youtuber PsychedSubstance !
He does a lot of informative videos about drugs for harm reduction and education purpose (and for fun) and he’s a lovely, bright human being.
Also the first international drug testing day will be on March 31st!
Please stay educated and safe. x
Hey I saw you talking about molly? Lol I used to roll all the time tell me about the proper use for mdma
“Use them with respect as to the transformations they can achieve, and you have an extraordinary research tool. Go banging about with a psychedelic drug for a Saturday night turn-on, and you can get into a really bad place.”
- Alexander Shulgin
First of all, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to talk about this extremely powerful and potentially life-changing psycho-pharmaceutical drug.
As someone who has done extensive research on MDMA and has used the drug on approximately 20 occasions during my life, I have a somewhat softer opinion on what some might consider its “recreational” use than did Alexander Shulgin, who is essentially credited with introducing MDMA to the world. If you enter the situation with thoughtfulness and care and with a mind towards safety, it is possible to have great experiences on MDMA without necessarily using it in a therapeutic or research setting. In my experience, however, doing MDMA in a comfortable, relaxed setting with people you care about tends to turn into a sort of therapy even if you don’t mean for it to and even if you don’t recognize it as such at the time.
Now all that said, MDMA is a powerful and potentially dangerous substance that should be approached with caution.
I’d like to discuss the drug’s background, legal status, effects, side effects, and safe use. This write up is by no means intended to be comprehensive, and anyone contemplating the use of MDMA is encouraged to do their own research on the topic. If anyone has any specific questions they need help with, feel free to ask.
MDMA, commonly known as either ecstasy or Molly, is a psychoactive drug more precisely called 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine.
It was originally synthesized in 1912 by the drug company Merck, who also patented it. This was done preemptively by the company essentially in order to prevent other drug companies from being able to use the chemical compound. For decades after, the compound only existed in theory as a chemical equation listed in textbooks. In 1976, Alexander Shulgin was introduced to the compound by a student. Shulgin, a biochemist, researcher, and psychopharmacologist, began synthesizing and integrating MDMA into some experiments he was already doing on other psychedelic compounds.
He soon recognized its potential uses in therapeutic settings and introduced the drug to a psychologist he knew in California. In turn, that psychologist, Leo Zeff, introduced it to hundreds more psychologists and therapists around the country, including a woman named Ann who would later become Alexander Shulgin’s wife. Almost immediately, the drug became well-known as a recreational drug, mostly being used in nightclub settings. In fact, at this point in its history, MDMA was essentially legal and could even be bought on the spot at bars.
MDMA’s effects lend themselves extremely well to therapeutic use. The drug’s main effects are as follows:
a tendency to see everything in its best light
extreme empathy for others and even for yourself
a sense of inner peace
increased communication abilities and desires for communication
enhanced sensations including sexual and sensual feelings
Taken separately and on the surface, these effects may seem to be not too much different than many other drugs, psychoactive or otherwise, but the total sum effect seems to be somehow bigger than its parts. MDMA users often report experiencing life-changing emotions, and it can sometimes be possible to discuss and work through mental and emotional problems that would be virtually impossible to discuss on any level otherwise without extreme stress and pain.
My own personal experience with these effects is that they, quite literally, changed my life. It’s almost as if the bar of potential happiness is raised somehow. And it’s not like this feeling goes away after the effects of the drug wear off. While you won’t continue to feel the over-the-top euphoria of your MDMA experience after the fact, responsible users, including myself, often find that feeling such overwhelming happiness and euphoria while on MDMA makes these feelings easier to tap into in day-to-day life.
The effects, at least subjectively, seem to be magnified when you take the drug with someone you really love. The overwhelming feelings of empathy and love, alone, can go a long way to mending even very old wounds between you.
Although I don’t have any personal experience using MDMA with a therapist or psychologist, I do know that it has been used in this manner extensively and seems to be particularly helpful in dealing with PTSD. Just this topic alone could easily be its own essay or even an entire book. (Indeed, I believe there are books written about MDMA’s use in therapy.)
Side effects/negative effects:
Some potential side effects and negative effects that MDMA users may or may not experience include:
grinding and clenching of teeth
increase in heart rate
increase in blood pressure
loss of appetite
In some cases, some of these effects may continue for some time even after the drug has worn off. Some users find that they can be anxious and/or depressed for some time after using MDMA.
It is generally understood that the more frequently you use MDMA, the more severe the side effects will be. However, this can vary by individual.
My PERSONAL experience with the side effects is that they are quite mild, and by never being a frequent user of the drug, I have avoided any issues involving a “crash” of negative emotions in the days after using it.
In the United States, MDMA is classified as a “schedule one” drug. This means that the drug is recognized as having no legitimate medical use, and its possession, sale, and manufacturer is completely banned in the country.
The exact legal status of MDMA can vary somewhat around the world, but it is essentially illegal to possess just about anywhere.
No psychoactive drug is completely safe to use for every person. When it comes to MDMA, the situation is complicated by the fact that many substances being sold on the black market as MDMA either contain no MDMA whatsoever or contain MDMA as well as other substances which could potentially be more harmful than MDMA itself, or interact with MDMA in dangerous ways.
MDMA is generally sold in two forms:
MDMA in a powder form is typically called “Molly.” Sometimes the powder will be packaged into clear capsules.
In this form, MDMA is typically called “ecstasy.” The pills come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. The black market manufacturers who make the pills imprint them with various recognizable logos in order to build their own reputation and brand.
Both “Molly” and pressed pills can contain anything from a large, relatively pure dose of MDMA to a mixture of MDMA and other substances to extremely dangerous substances without any MDMA at all.
In some cases, drugs that mimic the effects of MDMA to some degree are substituted in order to fool buyers. These substances can be potentially far more harmful than actual MDMA.
Currently in 2015, there are some particularly dangerous substances floating around as MDMA, so safety measures are perhaps even more important now than they ever have been in the past.
Testing your drugs:
Even a source that seems reliable and has been reliable in providing clean MDMA in the past can be fooled into selling you something that is not actually MDMA or is adulterated with other substances. For this reason, testing your drugs before use NO MATTER WHERE YOU GOT THEM can be a potentially LIFE SAVING measure.
Although it’s technically impossible for the average user to determine every substance that may be present in any given sample, the use of easily available MDMA test kits provides an invaluable safety measure to those interested in potentially taking the drug.
Testing of suspected MDMA substances is done using four different chemical reagents, the Marquis, the Mecke, the Mandelin, and the Simon’s.
Dance Safe is a well-known harm reduction organization that provides MDMA testing information as well as testing kits. If you are in the US, it is probably going to be cheaper and easier for you to purchase the chemical reagents through an online vendor. There is a seller on eBay, for example, that offers everything you need to test with the four reagents for about $30. A vendor known as “Bunk Police” also offers these test kits.
Test kits are LEGAL to buy, sell, and posses. However, it would still be a good idea to be discrete about the fact that you have it. Don’t travel with it, if you can help it. And certainly don’t leave it lying around or voluntarily show it to a cop.
The Dance Safe website is the best resource I know for explaining how to use the test kit and how to interpret the results. Please visit them at the following link:
The average person will need a dose of approximately 75 to 125 mg of MDMA to have a pleasant experience. A smaller or more susceptible person may be able to take even less than that.
It is possible to prolong your experience by taking around one half of your original dose about 2 to 3 hours later. Personally, I am able to stretch my experience to around six hours by dosing in this manner.
Since it can be extremely difficult to know just how much you are taking, particularly when it comes to pressed pills, it’s best to start with a very small dose and increase from there if needed.
Staying healthy while on MDMA:
Two of the most important things to remember in terms of staying safe and healthy while on MDMA are to avoid becoming overheated and to keep hydrated. Things like saunas, hot tubs, or other extremely hot environments should be avoided completely.
Although somewhat unlikely, it is technically possible to over hydrate while using MDMA, and this should be avoided as well. If you have any doubts as to how much water you should actually drink, it’s probably a good idea to look up the recommended water intake for your body weight and prepare several servings of water to set aside prior to dosing yourself with your drug. This way, it’s easy to keep pace with the amount of water you should be drinking.
In general, taking other drugs or consuming alcohol while on MDMA can be extremely dangerous and is not advisable. In my educated opinion, marijuana and nicotine are really the only other drugs that are safe to consume while on MDMA.
And, absolutely the MOST important thing to remember is that if you feel that you are in any danger whatsoever or are experiencing severe side effects, CALL 911 or take a cab to the ER IMMEDIATELY.
Do NOT take your drugs with you. Leave them at home. Going to the hospital under the influence is not illegal, although driving yourself would be.
The priority is to receive medical care right away. Promise yourself this safety measure each time you take MDMA and stick to it.
Having a positive experience:
I highly recommend that if you are going to consume MDMA, you do it in your own home. The home of a trusted friend or family member would be the best second choice. While I have gone out into public while on MDMA, I never drive or engage in any other potentially dangerous activities.
The first time you use MDMA can be particularly overwhelming, and it is perhaps even more important to be in a comfortable, safe environment with people you trust.
I recommend having easy access to your favorite music, plenty of nonalcoholic drinks, and some candy and gum.
If you have a specific plan to try to discuss certain issues or work through problems while having your MDMA experience, I recommend discussing this with your partner or partners before dosing the drug. This way, you go into the experience with your goal in mind.
As I have had more experiences with MDMA over the years, I have mostly moved away from trying to “plan out” my sessions to any large degree, instead preferring to just “go with the flow.” However, this approach may not be for everyone, particularly those who find themselves predisposed to compulsively doing dangerous things.
Having someone around who agrees to remain completely sober would not be a bad idea at all. While MDMA doesn’t cause dissociation or altered reality perception, having a designated sober person could potentially save you from stumbling into danger accidentally.
Roll Safe (unaffiliated with Dance Safe as far as I’m aware) provides a good overview of safety, harm reduction, and various supplements that you can take both before and after dosing with MDMA to enhance your experience and lessen potential negative side effects. I definitely recommend checking this site out if you are considering taking MDMA.
Yesterday, i got annoyed at myself for being too lazy to cook a hot breakfast. I told myself that I couldn’t just have cereal again; I needed to cook. But I wasn’t feeling it, so I decided I was going to just skip breakfast and have a cup of coffee. Then something happened: I realized how ridiculous that was. Maybe I “should” try to mix up what I eat for breakfast, but eating a bowl of cereal is better than nothing. So I ate the cereal.
Tonight, I was feeling too tired to do my whole skin care routine. I know that you’re not supposed to just use a makeup cloth; you’re supposed to take off your makeup then wash your face. I wasn’t going to do that, so I just started to go to bed without taking off my makeup at all. But I caught myself again. Using my makeup cloth was better than nothing. So I did it.
My point is it’s better to half-ass something than to no-ass that thing. Yes, cooking a full meal that fits all the food groups would be ideal. But if it’s not going to happen, eating chicken nuggets or cereal is better than nothing. Typing out a horrible paper in 45 minutes then turning it in isn’t ideal, but it’s better than turning in nothing at all.
It’s all about harm reduction. Things aren’t always going to be perfect, but lack of perfection shouldn’t stop us from doing good enough.
and writers working on issues of criminalization and drug liberation, we believe
that altering the relationships we have with our minds and bodies through
substance use is a form of resistance and emancipation. For us, drug liberation
is the emancipation of drugs deemed illegal and the people who use them from
the control of the state and social structures. In our experience, drug use can
facilitate authentic, compassionate, and emotionally bonded social
relationships that are not possible otherwise. Drug use can be therapeutic and
provide autonomy outside of the pathologizing system of western medicine for
coping with trauma and difficult life experiences. Within an economic system that
relies on our bodies as a tool of production under a capitalist rationality, getting
high can be a tactic for survival, a therapeutic practice, and an active
refusal to engage with capitalism.
Maximizing our own pleasure by getting high
can be a political imperative when we live in a society that is organized
around viewing our bodies and minds as a form of capital. Under a capitalist
logic, pleasure as an end unto itself is often viewed as dangerous, selfish,
problematic, and destructive. But for thousands of years people have been using
all kinds of drugs and substances to alter their relationships with their
minds, bodies, with each other, and with their physical environments. Drugs
were (and still are) used for ceremonial purposes to expand people’s
relationship to land, expand worldviews, and as forms of healing medicine. Drugs
have been widely used for years within communities of self-proclaimed queers,
dykes, fags, gender radicals, freaks, skids, and punks to fuck with the ways in
which society understands how we are supposed to act and be in the world. It is
via practices of colonization, the introduction of capitalism, liberal legal
frameworks, and the proliferation of western medicine that certain kinds of drug
use have been arbitrarily pathologized and highly regulated, producing moralistic
notions of illicit drugs, “addiction”, and the “addict”.
our experience as drug users, radicals and writers, as well as our historical
and political understanding of drug use, we have been increasingly concerned
about the emergence of “radical sobriety” and “intoxication culture”
discussions among a range of anarchists and queer activists that have been
proliferating online, at conferences, and in social spaces. These discussions are marked by the
convergence of certain forms of anarchism, queer identity politics, and addiction
recovery language. All wrapped up, this comes to produce a political logic that
we believe is disconnected from history, from drug user rights movements, and could
result in a form of politics that is potentially damaging to people who use
drugs. With our analysis, we want to make it clear that we understand that
these issues are deeply personal for some people, and we do not wish to
undermine any one person’s experience with substance use and their own autonomy,
but rather, we seek to analyze how notions of “radical sobriety” and
“intoxication culture” are taken up as a cultural and political project. For
clarity, when we reference drugs and substances in this article, we are talking
about a wide range of natural and synthetic drugs, including alcohol, which
people use for a range of differing reasons.
What is “radical sobriety” and
recovery framework uses the language of 12-step programs such as Alcoholics and
Narcotics Anonymous, which ask members to claim a “ sober addict” identity. But,
radical sobriety groups take this further, understanding the “addict” as a
static political identity category and mobilize “safer space” language to claim
accessibility entitlement to a range of spaces to accommodate their soberness. Claiming
the identity of the “ sober addict” for “radical sobriety” people is a
political practice to mobilize resistance against “intoxication culture”. Within
“radical sobriety” groups, countering the pervasiveness of “intoxication culture” is a political
project, as this negative “culture” is understood as oppressing communities and
undermining the political aims of the radical left. For these people,
“intoxication culture” is understood as a “tool
of colonization”, and as driven by patriarchal
and heteronormative rape culture. This culture is understood to dominate
and promotes drinking and forms of drug use in a range of everyday activities
and social spaces, such as at sporting events and dance parties.
context of “radical sobriety” discussions, sobriety is, as noted in the
as Accessibility: Interrogating Intoxication Culture, “considered as a form of accessibility and
resistance”. As further explained on the blog post Intoxication
Culture is a Bore: “If you believe in accessibility,
inclusivity and justice then it is your responsibility as a normative drinker
to make space for people who can’t and don’t drink”. The result of claiming addiction as an accessibility
issue is that people who
are not self-described “addicts”, and whom use substances, are constructed as having a form of privilege that those
who are not “addicted” do not have access. The language of accessibility and
privilege are mobilized to call claims for safe spaces for the “radically
monolithic notion of “culture”, this approach also sees “intoxication culture” as
producing the “addict”. To reclaim the notion of the “sober addict”, “radical
sobriety“ groups use the language of disability rights scholars and activists
who understand disability as being produced socially and not as an individual
issue. This approach has been very productive for many important and powerful disability
rights groups and other accessibility rights groups in focusing attention away
from individual and people’s different bodies and abilities, to rather address the
barriers in society that produce understandings of ability and disability, and
accessibility and inaccessibility. Within a accessibility framework, the
political project comes to be organized around calls for social change to
enable new ways of accommodating a range of abilities and to enable forms of
accessibility, such as making spaces wheelchair accessible or making events
In some of their
discussions, “radical sobriety” people also have a somewhat nuanced
understanding of the social complexities around substance use, as that was
originally developed by people working in harm reduction and drug user rights
movements. For example, “radical
sobriety” groups will sometimes
state that addiction is exacerbated by
social issues such as lack of housing and poverty, they critique how western
medicine understands the individualization of addiction, they talk about the
differential effects of the drug hierarchy based on class, race and gender, and
they talk about how people who use drugs are considered disposable in society.
But despite possibly
good intentions, the problem is that more broadly these “radical sobriety” discussions
could cause damage to people who use drugs, including people who use drugs in
radical organizing spaces. The problem is that this new discourse is
ahistorical and could be furthering moralistic and stigmatizing attitudes and
practices. The problem is that there are major flaws in the arguments of “radical
sobriety”, which fail to address key political targets and forms of analysis. Thus, instead of uncritically
accepting the ideas that it is proposing, we find ourselves with the imperative
to interrogate “radical sobriety”.
Concerns with the discourse of
“radical sobriety and “intoxication culture”
groups of people who use drugs have been organizing in collectives to address a
range of vital issues impacting their lives, such as working to change damaging
criminal laws, barriers to healthcare, and to alter the negative social perception
of active drugs users. These groups work with an ethic of “nothing
about us, without us” and they have radically transformed policies and
approaches, such as initiating harm reduction as a widespread non-judgmental
approach to support drug users to realize their own health and claim agency
over their lives. Based on this
movement, other radicals working on issues related to drugs have an imperative
to engage with and understand work of drug user organizers (outside of one’s
personal drug history and personal needs to be high or remain sober).
coming from the individual perspective of past drug use, the discourse of the
“radically sober” fails to account for (and completely negates) the experiences
of active drug users and the decades of experience of drug user organizers. For
example, for many years, movements of people who drugs, including the International Network of People Who Use Drug
(INPUD), the Vancouver Area Network of Drug
Users (VANDU), L’Association Québécoise pour la promotion de
la santé des personnes utilisatrices de drogues (AQPSUD), and the Toronto
Drug Users Union (TDUU) have critiqued notions of addiction and have called
for an end to the use of the term “addict”. Drug user movements actively call
for a shift away from conceptualizing drug use in terms of “addiction”, as this
approach has been used to pathologize, medicalize and criminalize drug users.
These groups have highlighted that the language of “addiction” does not allow
the space for real discussion of the myriad experiences of substance use in
people’s lives. This results in a view that understands all drug use as a
problem that needs any number of forms of expertise to correct through recovery
programs, drug courts, criminal sanctions, and medical rehabilitation.
engaging with movements of people who use drugs, perspectives on the concept of
“addiction” and the political objectives
that are needed to achieve emancipation are vastly different than those who
engage in “radical sobriety”. In the view of many proponents of recovery, such
as people involved in “radical
sobriety”, people who are understood to become “addicts” are the product of a
dominant culture that promotes popularized forms of drug use. In their view, substance
use keeps various marginalized populations oppressed, and emancipation is thus achieved
through being sober. But this understanding is divorced from the history of colonization, liberal legal
frameworks and medicalization. As many active drug users know, drug use is not
inherently connected to “addiction” or problematic use, for example, 80-90%
of people who use drugs do not have a problem with their substance use. Ideas about “addiction” being based
in science are flawed and has been disproven (read the work of Carl Hart and get back to us) Drug use
only became understood as something that is “wrong” when specific frameworks of
morality were developed and imposed onto groups of people who used drugs.
Notions of “addiction” and the “addict” have
been constructed over time by white, wealthy moral authorities such as
religious groups, medical experts, psychologists, politicians, police and
criminal justice systems. Mobilizing negative, pathologizing ideas of “addiction”
and the “addict” has been part of the projects of colonization and other forms
of social control of poor people and people of colour. This kind of pathologizing people has
led to the to rise of forms of treatment detention and forced treatment. It is
the fear of the “addict” which people use so as to continue to scapegoat and
attack. The idea of the highly racialized, classed and gendered “addict” has
the ability and power to strip people of all of their other identities and
becomes the only focus for understanding the individual. This logic is what
forces people on welfare to be drug tested, children to be removed from their
homes, and people locked up for what they put in their bodies (despite no harm
to anyone else). With
this understanding, the “tool of colonization” is not substance use, but rather
an oppressive system of laws and institutions organized around controlling and
incapacitating groups of people deemed different, specifically those who do not
fit within a moral and capitalist logic.
rights organizations understand that we need liberation from oppressive
structures, which act to classify, control, and criminalize people who use
drugs. Here it is not about focusing on an individuals right to sobriety, but
rather on the end to the war on drugs through the repeal of criminal laws,
rejection of western medical categories, and the reform of notions of recovery.
continuing to mobilize notions of “addiction” and “addict”, as well as not
engaging with or accounting for the legacy of activism by drug user rights
movements, so-called radicals in the “radical sobriety” movement could be
unwittingly promoting the aims of the ongoing colonial project and furthering a
pathologizing logic which results in criminalizing people who use drugs and
denying them agency over their lives. These are major concerns for those
working in activist communities, especially for those who are working to
address issues of damaging laws, prisons, mass incarceration, criminalization,
health-care access, and forms of social marginalization that are driven by
pathologizing attitudes towards people who use drugs.
Identity politics and the “sober addict”
seeing more and more claims for accessibility for activist and social spaces for
people who claim “radical sobriety” as an identity, and we feel concerned. These claims come in the form of Facebook
posts to event organizers asking for events to be made accessible for sober
people, workshops at anarchist and radical events, zines and blogs. Identity
categories are not inherently natural, and they are not static. They can be
fluid, develop over time, and can also be produced through a range of forms of
domination. It can be claimed that people
making arguments against forms of identity politics are trying to negate the
experiences of people who take on certain identities. In our case, we must
stress that this could not be further from the truth. We are not against anyone’s
personal imperative to stake claim on an identity, and we have also used
identity categories to make political claims in our activist work. But, in this context, we do question the
outcome of using this kind of politic. The problem is that in some cases identity
politics can result in a sole focus on the maintenance of identity formations
rather than on broader forms of emancipation.
sobriety” the “sober addict” has become a static identity category that then
becomes part of a place for one to talk about personal issues of accessibility
and other people’s privilege who are using drugs. But as we have stated, mobilizing
notions of the “addict” marginalizes
people who are active drug users. “Radical sobriety” people position the “sober
addict” as emancipated, but also continually oppressed within the “intoxication
culture”. The “sober addict” then needs to be accommodated as a rights and
social justice issue. Other people’s drug use is a privilege and needs to be
checked. This sets up a dualism where accessibility is only articulated in
relation to the “radically sober” person, and where accessibility for people
who are active drug users is rarely considered.
The focus becomes not on talking about liberation from the various forms
of marginalization that have created precarity in the lives of people who use
drugs, or on the conditions that have produced notions of “addiction”, but
rather, the focus is attuned to maintaining the oppressed identity of the
“sober addict” who is entitled to forms of accommodation, such as making social
spaces or events sober, or to have specific spaces for sober people at events.
critique of identity-based strategies is that they have the potential to
produce an “essential” experience of identities that can erase other experience
in the process. Also, with identity politics, confessions of individual
difference and call-outs about privilege can become the political project
themselves. For example, the statement “I am ________ and I am a sober addict”
actually does nothing to dismantle the systems of oppression surrounding people
who use drugs or other forms of power and privilege. Here being “oppressed”
holds a certain cultural and social capital for people in particular activist
contexts. People thus aspire to be
the goal is not an end to oppression,
but rather to be as oppressed as possible. This political project can miss
a broader critique of history, economy and society, as political targets. This
approach to activism has been widely critiqued as promoting neoliberal aims
through its endless attention to the individualist liberal notions of human
Also, in this
context, the monolithic notion of “intoxication culture” as promoted by “radical
sobriety” people poses a problem. There are many cultures for which using forms
of drugs are traditional, sacred, and a regular part of people’s daily lives.
We need to understand the plurality of cultures. Culture is not homogeneous. Prescribing moral frameworks
onto cultures to define if they are good or bad based on how people use drugs
within them can employ a racist, classist and colonizing logic. We need to
accept that a wide range of people from diverse communities use recreational
drugs for a range of reasons. Buying into the notion of the “addict” buys into
oppressive models and allows no room and space for people who want to engage in
substance use in different ways.
a range of spaces to exist in. We are not opposed to sober spaces, and we are
not opposed to people creating their own spaces to accommodate what they need. We
are not interested in is that kind of dichotomous way of understanding activism.
Buying into the moralistic frameworks designed to marginalize and oppress
people who actively use drugs will never be a radical act. Anti-drug sentiments
have been used historically to exclude active drug users from a range of
activist movements. This is why we find the “radical sobriety” discourse so
concerning. We are concerned about people who use drugs feeling unwelcome in
activist organizing and social spaces. Active drug users are often highly marginalized
from activist communities and radical social spaces because they make people
We need a more emancipatory framework that can support a range of people’s
needs without creating dividing lines and claiming identities that result in
othering and marginalization.
Recovery as a form of oppression
discussions are organized around the basic principles of mainstream prohibitionist
recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other
12-step programs. “Radical sobriety” discussions, while having some
critiques of these approaches, also adopt the primary approach of these
interventions which understand addiction
as a disease that needs to be corrected solely through individual intervention.
To believe that “addiction” is a disease is also to believe that “addiction” is
a life-long “problem”. A focus on the individual failing of certain people
results in a corrective logic that is aimed at fixing or forcing that person to
change to better fit into society. This is an idea that we know to be a myth, a myth that
obscures how notions of “addiction” and “dependency” come to be constructed. This
is a widely popular and very damaging misconception, which continues to fuel prohibitionist
policies and the drug war.
based on capitalism generates enormous wealth and at the same time breaks down
every traditional form of social cohesion, creates dislocation, and social isolation, poverty and also pathologizes notions of “dependency”. The
idea of “dependency” is a construct born out of liberal individualism, where
every person is an island, and the ideal is the autonomous rational subject.
When the reality is that dependency is “normal” or rather is constitutive of
what it is to be human. We all depend on others and things, and only exist in
relation to others and things.
Defining an individual as the problem, as an
“addict” with a disease that has no self-control has allowed communities and governments
to get off the hook for taking care of each other. Recovery programs are not
designed to help aspects of society change to address forms of oppression and
violence, which could drive people to use drugs in ways that they may feel are problematic.
Within a capitalist framework, beyond Alcoholics
Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, many recovery
programs generate a massive amount of wealth for certain groups of people. But generally,
individualized recovery programs are the only models out there. While some of
these options provide a sense of community and solidarity for people, the
foundation of recovery programs continues to drive a pathologizing logic that
needs to be challenged.
Drug use can be a radical act
people have named our experiences while high as “inauthentic”. This naming of
others experiences employs a colonizing and paternalistic logic, and the same
kind of moralism that leads to criminalization and pathologization. Notions of
the “right” way to be and the “wrong” way to be are what drive practices of
exclusion targeting people who actively use drugs. Shouldn’t promoting personal
autonomy and self-determination be central to our commitment to working to change
society for the better? Shouldn’t radicals allow people to claim their own
experiences for themselves? Shouldn’t
radicals understand that people must be allowed agency over their own bodies;
to ingest what they want, when they want? If
so, then why engage with systems that prescribe
forms of morality over others? Certain kinds of radical political organizers do
turn towards forms of morality politics. We
have seen this happen to radical movements that moralize bodies - from women’s
temperance movements to anti-pornography feminism in the 80’s to sex work
abolitionists of today. But morality politics is always a tool of the conservative
right, and can never be successfully used by the radical left as these
approaches produce the conditions of their own demise. They produce the
possibility of cooptation by liberal moderates, and exploitation of their
morality by the conservative right - who truly have the authority over cultures
of morality, and have the greatest experience in mobilizing morality for their
own political gains. Further moralizing forms of drug use will only result in
more danger and insecurity in our lives.
There are no
doubts that drug control policies have also been mobilized as a tool of
oppression. But we must understand these issues are not inherent in the drugs
themselves, it is a broader system of oppression which needs to be dismantled
and this includes the liberation of drugs (i.e. the removal of laws and forms
of morality which result in the social exclusion of people who actively use
drugs). We can’t rely on oppressive
institutions to define our activist work. We need to build our own ways,
through creating circles of care and new forms of harm reduction support for
those who need it. We need to create space for people to come together to
foster new forms of healing and social connection.
We need to bring
pleasure back in to discussion of drug use. We know that our experiences while
high are authentic, real and have been powerful. Altering reality can bring
beauty, magic, transcendence and new understandings to our daily lives.
Radicals of all sorts have used drugs to
enable themselves to question how things are organized and to be critical of
the world around them. People politically organize in many kinds of spaces
including bars, workplaces, parties, and community spaces while intoxicated. Organizing
does not happen through one homogeneous experience. Intoxication does not negate
the nature of people’s ability to be authentic, to go in the world, be a good
organizer, or get shit done.
Thank you to
wonderful Eliot Ross Albers, Ian Bradley-Perrin, Nora Butler Burke, Liam
Michaud, Zachary Grant and Kate Mason for your thoughtful and invaluable
support and feedback during the development of this article.
Note: The first image was taken by the authors. The second and third images are from the Radical Sobriety Montreal Facebook page.
I don’t talk about my dayjob much here, but I work with folks who use substances.
I just heard about yet another overdose death today, and it’s fucking awful.
Here’s the thing: no one ever needs to die from an opiate [heroin etc] overdose ever again–we have the antidote (Narcan/naloxone). Narcan is becoming widely available really fast, and it is proven, over and over, to save lives.
If you use, use safely–be careful with your tie-off, don’t use alone, have Narcan nearby, and use SMALL test shots. Cook your own shot, do your own shot.
If you need Narcan for yourself or a friend/loved one, reach out. Depending on where you are, I can get it to you myself, send it in the mail, or tell you where to get it local to you. Don’t risk it–no one needs to die any more.
To all the fucking assholes selling fake xanax bars STOP. You’re literally murdering people. To anyone buying them: GET A TEST KIT. Make sure it doesn’t contain opiates. Someone dear to me almost DIED due to greedy assholes selling literal poison and they only took ONE. That’s all it takes. If you don’t have a test kit or an actual prescription, think twice before you lose your life.
1.) yes, the US pharma-giants (okay, let’s be real, pretty much single-handedly Purdue) aggressively marketed OxyContin – because the world is a toxic, disgusting cesspool – to general practitioners, an easy mark for these howitzers, as GPs typically lack comprehensive education in pain management and therefore want to easily (due to unwillingness or noncompliance on the part of either the doctor or the patient in pursuing appropriate diagnostics… because it’s general practice, not a pain management clinic. Can relate. Am frustrated). And yes, legislators were bombarded by the “opioid lobby,” and yes, Purdue confidently told these doctors that this was a great new breakthrough in opioid-based pain management (give up already – stop trying to build the better mousetrap; stop trying to synthesize the WonderOpioid that provides profound pain relief without addiction liability) ‘because the patient will just take it for 3 weeks for any type of pain, it’s up to you basically… it’s an 80mg controlled-release tablet that is swallowed and then released over 12 hours in small amounts, so you don’t need to worry about any addiction potential’ (the number of lawsuits that this company has sustained because of their fabricated bullshit is sort of comical, but in a really depressing way), and yes,
a.) it took junkies about one hour after the release of this drug to crush those 80mg and either snort or inject a solution derived from the entire dose, all at once! Not a small bit every hour!
b.) and yes, it is true – opioids were being overprescribed by uneducated (and later just unscrupulous) doctors because of a heavy marketing campaign targeting the most frequent presenting complaint (pain) that also happens to have the most widely nebulous, pain-in-the-ass 14-pages of rule-outs to consider. Complex or chronic pain is truly not appropriate for a general practitioner to address. Pain management is extremely nuanced and hard! But I get it, people want a quick fix for things, and then they… like that “quick fix,” because it fills some kind of previously unknown void in their life, or maybe the doctor abruptly stopped the 30-day course of OxyContin for the boy-next-door white-dude champion high school quarterback who tore his ACL, but he was still in pain, and then he was in withdrawals, or maybe the duration of action truly wasn’t 12 hours as promised by Purdue Pharma (a great article worth reading, by the way), and at first doctors became leery of patients asking for earlier refills, then basically blacklisted the patient for “oh, they’re becoming an addict; I need to abruptly cut off the prescription before it gets worse” (for what it’s worth, years’- and hundreds-of-patients’-worth of being told that the drug was wearing off after eight hours finally made a lot of doctors realize that oh, these people are actually correct and aren’t just gutter addicts and drug-seekers), so then that hometown rich white kid goes to the expert active-ingredient-extracting junkies who had, within an hour, figured out how to tamper with the new ~tamper proof~ 12-hour OxyContins, and then that fucking on-patent illicitly-diverted pharmaceutical drug became too expensive to continue buying off the street, so after two days of horrid withdrawals, that person decided to score some heroin from those same junkies – because tar is a better bang for your buck anyway, yo… iron law of prohibition right here
2.) so yes, pharmaceutical companies have (pretty much the slimiest thing on earth): created marketing fronts disguised as legitimate patient access advocacy groups, so yes, you could say that these companies have Leipzig'ed the “opioid epidemic.” And Purdue still won’t outright admit that OxyContin does not last for 12 hours. And addiction specialists agree that that is a disgusting, toxic claim and a recipe for addiction (see the above link that I recommended that people read), because if you’re in withdrawals for 4 hours before you can take your next dose, you’re inevitably going to begin obsessing about it, because fuck, opioid withdrawals are awful! Twice-daily opioid withdrawals are even more awful!
3.) preventing codeine from being sold over the counter prevents krokodil, but you know what else would? legitimate patient access to pharmacy-grade, unadulterated desomorphine so that these people wouldn’t have to attempt inept kitchen-chemistry resulting in necrotic veins and extremities in order to feel whatever they need to feel; but whatever, junkies are shit humans, except now we care because rich white people are addicted to opioids… but they’re NOT addicts, they can stop any time
4.) a legitimate pain management organization would, yes, follow a balanced, multi-modal treatment plan for the alleviation of pain – this could include anything from NSAIDs to therapeutic laser to increased mobility to cannabis to massage to stem cell therapy to tricyclic antidepressants to acupuncture (placebo?) to NMDA-antagonists to improved quality of life (feeling better about your life can decrease your pain! it’s true! I’m not just trying to be a “smile more, do yoga, don’t take antidepressants” asshole) to gabapentin to, yes, opioids, which are not “lousy” – they’re literally history’s gold standard of pain control
5.) and y'know, the thing about chronic pain is that it’s chronic. It’s a long-term thing. A person may have been living with this pain their whole life and will continue to do so until they die. When you die you don’t go through opioid withdrawal. People actually are capable of utilizing opioids on a long-term basis, leading to a profound impact on their quality of life. When you’re not in pain, the world is much less horrible, even though Dortmund is still a sloppy embarrassing disaster of a football team right now
6.) also, you’re a doctor. Try harder.
7.) opioids, much like benzos, are actually one of the most benign classes of drugs to give to a patient suffering from organ system disease, myocardial infarction, whatever is going on. You know those other types of drugs I listed up there?
NSAIDs: great class of drugs that is slowly being whittled down into the pharmaceutical form of the COX-inhibitor subtype with the widest therapeutic index; in the meantime, these drugs should be used with vigilant caution in patients with renal compromise and/or secondary fluid and electrolyte balance, as well as those prone to ulcers or GI lesions, as well as people with cardiovascular compromise (depending on the drug).
Tricyclic antidepressants: incredibly interesting in their mode of action on nociception by indirectly agonizing opioid/nociceptive receptors through their serotonergic action (I assume it’s similar to dogs’ responses to tramadol, which are so varied – like 0% efficacy in some meta-studies, to at least noticeably improved demeanors and clinical signs indicating advantageous effects on patient comfort in many cases – in their metabolism to O-desmethyltramadol, but still seem to be more comfortable on an appropriate dose of tramadol; the latest edition of the Plumb’s veterinary drug formulary I believe tripled the dosage recommendation for tramadol in dogs, as well as increasing the recommended frequency of administration), but that downregulation of the serotonergic systems can be sort of yucky, and they are also, y'know, tricyclic antidepressants. Remember, when you cold-turkey psychiatric drugs like SSRIs and tricyclics, you don’t go through drug withdrawals, you suffer from “discontinuation syndrome.” Let’s move on.
NMDA-antagonists: fantastic class of drugs with a slew of promising benefits on brain function and neuronal integrity, profound alleviation of depression in some people with refractory, life-halting depression; very complex cascade consisting of basically a full-body repair of hypersensitive neurons that have been so bombarded by pain signals that the pain invades any and all parts of the body. NMDA-antagonists can fix that.
(Downside:) This class of drugs is mainly represented by ketamine and all the cool-kid dissociatives. (They’re actually awful.) Amantidine is also a non-psychoactive member of this family that seems to be used far more often for “fixing” wind-up/allodynia in animals than in humans. Similarly, doctors are scared of doing anything that will get them in trouble, and ketamine has a bad rap. Not as bad as methadone, but bad. It’s gonna be slim-pickings finding a low-dose ketamine infusion clinic. I mean, I did mine through a clinical study sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a company that actually performed an independent controlled study investigating Purdue’s stomping-whiny-child insistence that OxyContin has a 12-hour duration of action – guess what the results were: no). The idea is nice but the execution is sloppy, kind of like Dortmund’s performance lately.
Weed: I live in Jeff Sessions’ world but have a medical card anyway, because fuck yeah, DC.
Gabapentin: nice drug, beautiful drug, generally kind of shitty (or at least incredibly hit or miss) for pain aside from specific neuropathic pain, or when comprising part of a balanced anesthesia pre-op or post-op routine in conjunction with something, well, like opioids, which brings us to:
❗️❗️❗️It is remarkably disingenuous to overstate potential adverse effects from long-term use of opioids. Check out the same type of list for any drug class I listed up there. Instead of groping for bad things to write about in regards to the body’s physical scars from long-term use (and really, what they wrote is definitely a stretch), you can just kinda free-style the adverse long-term effects of those other drugs: weight gain, mental fogginess and personality changes, kidney failure, hallucinations, rhabdomyolysis, rebound seizures, hair loss, tardive dyskinesia, leukopenia (not a thing you want), etc. etc.
So. Opioids: know your exact dose and dose appropriately, be mindful of any tolerance breaks, don’t mix downers unless your doctor specifically okays it (seriously) (I mean it) (these three mantras contribute to the whole “don’t develop respiratory depression and die” goal); you may feel calm and happy and not in pain; you won’t poop. Literally, that is it.
The only exceptions that I can think of are:
a.) Darvon, which is a shitty drug with a shameful (current-Dortmund-form-level-shameful) therapeutic index for a – once upon a time – FDA-approved, often-prescribed drug to treat mild pain. Its very grave risk of overdose (think U-47700 style – hmm, wonder why that drug never came to market), coupled with reports of arrhythmias and other cardiac issues, has forced it off the market in pretty much every country on the planet. So seriously, don’t talk about it like all the shitty Millennials are just doped up on Darvon all day. It’s incredibly shitty, as a doctor, to talk like this. You’ve got an agenda that lacks the nuance of analyzing the lived experiences proffered by harm-reduction policies.
b.) METHADONE:This drug carries probably the greatest stigma (shy of diamorphine) (heroin) in the country that I live in, because, y'know, junkies are just here to prove the theory of evolution, right? Kill the dumb ones off? Anyway, methadone is a dirty drug in that it agonizes opioid receptors as well as antagonizing NMDA-receptors (remember that cool thing that I talked about?). So it is actually a great drug for chronic, refractory pain, and it is also a fantastic anesthetic drug due to its double-trouble analgesic activity. However, you will be treated like the scum of the earth if you are on methadone. And yeah, its use carries the risk of some hinky complications (again, it’s a dirty drug), but anyway, who cares, methadone is being phased out more and more, supplanted by buprenorphine/Suboxone. I guess that no one wants to admit that they work at the methadone clinic.
c.) Meperidine/pethidine: so, so rarely used in many countries, because, again, it’s a dirty drug, agonizing the opioid receptors, as well as exhibiting anticholinergic and serotonergic action. Don’t take it with MAOIs. You’d have more fun doing ecstasy, anyway, until you died of serotonin syndrome from either combo.
8.) So yeah, opioids are generally considered “safe” drugs. If you are working in an emergency room and someone in a car accident presents to you, with no knowledge of their medical history, you’re probably going to give them hydromorphone straight-away, because its effect on metabolism/elimination-based organ systems and cardiovascular integrity are negligible if dosed appropriately. If you live in the UK, instead of hydromorphone, you’ll get some sweet medical-grade heroin action (it actually has a relatively wide therapeutic index, among well-studied opioids, and is often advantageous over morphine due to its higher fat solubility, which often allows it to be dosed more easily via the subcutaneous route if a person’s veins are fucked up from end-stage cancer or any other condition that involves frequent IV injection – veins scar up! A chemo dog is incredibly difficult to place an IV catheter in. Being able to give a subcutaneous injection that still provides strong analgesic activity is a boon to so many people.)
9.) while we’re on the subject, can I just say that the long-term physical effects created by heroin addiction are almost exclusively the result of a.) first and foremost: the basically-ubiquitous adulteration of street heroin with stronger opioids like the countless fentalogues that exist, as well as strychnine, starch, fucking powdered vitamin B, quinine, caffeine, cocaine, and god knows what else (but EcstasyData does); b.) as a result, injecting unknown contaminants has been the leading cause of complications from heroin addiction, like endocarditis, pneumonia, abscesses, etc.; c.) so yeah, IV injections that are actually not IV injections – expect some blown, scarred veins; abscesses from inadvertent subcutaneous injection of dirty heroin; blood clots; other shit; and most importantly, d.) the United States’ refusal to investigate the benefit of harm-reduction policies like supervised injection sites, decriminalization of drug possession, needle exchange programs (still an anomaly in many areas of the country), marijuana legalization, treatment centers that provide medical-grade diamorphine or hydromorphone, etc. – and what I see as the most atrocious of all: the many US localities’ continued resistance to providing no-questions-asked OTC access to naloxone – means that street heroin is getting more and more dangerous, because unregulated street drugs like this – by pretty much the nature of the game – are becoming more and more contaminated, with stronger opioids that leave the user with an unknown dosage and an every-batch risk of overdose. Lack of harm reduction policies causes heroin addicts to desperately seek out their drug of choice, leading to needle-sharing (and even the sad reality of addicts searching through animal hospital dumpsters for needles – fun fact: they won’t be there; sharps containers exist in all medical facilities! – because, I guess technically there are far fewer potential communicable diseases contractable from an animal’s blood than that of another human, which I’ve learned the hard way many times from accidental needle sticks while drawing blood), which presents its own slew of health complications. It often leads the user to neglect everyday duties in pursuit of the drug, many times resulting in things like petty theft, prostitution (again, another unregulated industry that is benefited profoundly by harm-reduction advocacy groups; in absentia of such, women are often subject to heinous abuse and violence), and gang violence. And it has led our country to pretty much transform Mexico into a failed state, but that goes without saying; e.) the employment of prescribed, medical-grade diamorphine, supervised injection sites, and social/medical support from advocacy groups has saved lives across the world. Seriously, read the book Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari – it will change your life. (In addition, the book Dreamland by Sam Quinones is also a very interesting, eye-opening analysis of early-aughts OxyContin’s deleterious effect on countless people in Appalachia and the Midwest, as well as its dovetail with scattered west-to-east trafficking of then-unadulterated black tar heroin by small-time manufacturers and dealers from Nayarit, Mexico who sold in small US cities without significant gang presences.) There do exist advocacy groups for patient access that are not RasenBallSport'ed by the pharmaceutical industry. And they have benefited the lives of countless people.
During my three years at the agency, I’ve often been asked why I don’t tell people like April that they should “get a real job” or stop using drugs. As someone with a middle class background, I was taught to divide people into those who “deserved” help and those who didn’t, assured that a little tough love was necessary lest the undeserving become complacent, or worse, dependent.
It is difficult to watch April sink deeper into addiction and not to judge her choices, but I’ve never told her to stop for the same reason I don’t harass every overweight person I meet about exercise. I don’t know if a person’s situation resulted from poor choices, genetics, stress, or something deeper.
But I do know that the sting of judgment, the silent accusation that their plight is self-inflicted, the constant refrain from society, family, friends and even strangers, “if you would just fix yourself…” does not often motivate change. If anything, piling stigma and shame onto an already fragile self-esteem leads to resignation, self-hatred, depression and hopelessness.
Want to be a part of NodSquad?! Looking for Mods, Programmers, Rebloggers, Posters, Network Outreach, Accuracy/Fact Checkers/Publishers, Harm Reduction Advocates, Journalists, Treasurers, Organizers & Designers.
After about a 2 and a half month hiatus while I grieved and continue to grieve the loss of my beautiful fiance @sweet-despondency, the biggest advocate, and hardest worker for this community, I think now more than ever that we as an opiate community need to get this back and running bigger and better than ever. Before Nikki passed we had so many goals that we had planned for the upcoming months & I want to make sure to honor her name to reach each and every one of these goals and more. I want to make my fiance proud as well as help each and every member of this community whether they are a new addict, experienced addict, recovering addict, or simply a family member/friend of an addict. I first hand have been through the worst hell this world could have ever possibly put me through, losing the love of my life, my best friend, my entire world. I would do anything to get her back and to not feel this pain, but that is impossible until I get to see her again. Before I see her again I want to make her proud. I won’t reveal all of our plans yet but one of the first things that is going to be accomplished is what Nikki and I talked about forever. To be able to get Narcan to each and every user or friend/family member of a user, along with clean needles, and other sanitary equipment, tie off’s, instructional videos and practices for safe shooting, snorting, smoking, or any other routes for not only heroin but all opiates. I want everyone to know that there is a part here for each and every individual and that every one of you can contribute to make this a success.
If you would like to contribute to this great cause in any way. Message @opiatesandspeed and I will allocate a position for you based on your strongest skills. Thank you all for your time & please stay careful all of you. I will do everything in my power to not allow another member of this beautiful community to be lost. I love you all.
Could you please elaborate more in this post “weird how I became a much more compassionate and accepting person when I realised that drug addiction is the symptom of a problem and not the problem in itself”? Please PS: I’m not disagreeing with you but I would like to know about how you reached that conclusion Ps2: I really hope that I’m not sounding rude or something, if I’m I would like to apologise Ps3: I hope you’re having a good day 💜
secondly, if you look around you, you start noticing the language of addiction as personal fault, people blaming other people for being “addicted”. and it doesn’t just apply to drugs - it applies to teens on their phones, boys playing video games, porn, shopping, food, whatever. you slowly you come to realise that addiction-as-symptom of pain applies to these things as well.
a teen on their phone constantly isn’t on their phone to spite their parents - they’re on their phone because the phone is giving them something nobody else in their life is, something they need. human connection, intellectual stimulation. people eating a lot isn’t an addiction, it’s what their bodies or minds need. the food is filling a need and that’s valid. if you want them to stop eating an “unhealthy amount” (which in itself is a concept rooted in ableism and fatphobia) you have to find some other way to fill that need.
these are just 2 examples, but when you start looking around yourself and stop blaming “addicts” for their addictions you genuinely become kinder. you start believing that everybody is doing their best and sometimes people who are hurting cope in ways that are ugly, destructive, detrimental to the people around. I don’t exactly forgive these people, especially not when they’re hurting me and mine, but I do have compassion for them because I understand.
This summer I had extreme stomach issues. When I ate I could feel the food move through my digestion tract and then I would have really bad diarrhea. After really monitoring it and talking to a doctor it’s because breaking fasts/only restricting on fiber (fruits and vegetables) is super harsh on your digestive system. We NEED carbs/fat/protein. Break fasts with protein or carbs (specifically white ones) and don’t only eat vegetables and fruits (specifically raw ones) when restricting. Please reboot this I haven’t seen one post discussing this EVER.
In real life, and as mirrored in media images, girls and women employ various strategies to mitigate the harms to themselves of living under a brutal patriarchal regime, such as utilizing contraception and abortion to mitigate the harms of dangerous PIV-centric sexuality, or not walking alone at night to avoid male violence including rape. When these harm reduction strategies are addressed, it is in the complete absence of context, where the agent of harm — namely, men, and male violence and male-centric values and institutions — is invisible and never named. Popular discourse around various methods of birth control — including abortion — are perhaps the most obvious, as are all ads for all medications, policies, practices and procedures meant to “cure” or “relieve” women’s suffering, but without ever acknowledging that the conditions necessitating treatment are patriarchy-derived and that under different conditions, these afflictions and stressors would be avoidable or even unheard of.
Harm reduction/refusal to name the agent supports male power. In their global campaign to increase their own power, men harm women, children and each other through aggression and violence, war, industry, and sexuality, to name but a few, and obfuscating that is politically useful. Examination of the realities of dangerous PIV-centric sexuality and male sexual violence against women and children — including who is perpetrating it — bodes poorly for men as a sexual class. When these harms are examined, and the agent(s) of harm named, such as by radical feminists, it logically suggests further inquiry into the patriarchal constructs of compulsory heterosexuality, marriage, and fatherhood; such analyses threaten to undermine male power and are to be avoided. Women are made to expend all of their time, energy and resources on the daily tasks of survival and have nothing left over to put towards examining the sources of their oppression or achieving their own ends, and we see pervasive advertising for a booming consumer market of female-specific products, devices, and services that allegedly improve women’s lives or rejuvenate us via consumerism, i.e. by doing something, but we are never meant to consider how women’s lives would improve if misogynistic or male-centric cultural practices that are specifically harmful to women were stopped.
I created Silk Road because I thought the idea for the website itself had value, and that bringing Silk Road into being was the right thing to do. I believed at the time that people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else. However, I’ve learned since then that taking immediate actions on one’s beliefs, without taking the necessary time to really think them through, can have disastrous consequences. Silk Road turned out to be a very naive and costly idea that I deeply regret.
Silk Road was about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit. What it turned into was, in part, a convenient way for people to satisfy their drug addictions. I do not and never have advocated the abuse of drugs. I learned from Silk Road that when you give people freedom, you don’t know what they’ll do with it. While I still don’t think people should be denied the right to make this decision for themselves, I never sought to create a site that would provide another avenue for people to feed their addictions. Had I been more mature, or more patient, or even more worldly then, I would have done things differently.
Hey tumblrs, I’m doing a research project for social work school on adolescent lesbian/bisexual/trans/queer girls who use substances/alcohol. My group is motivated by the lack of research on the subject and bc of our own identities. If you identify with this (13-24 y/o), please consider taking our anonymous survey https://lilmimi.typeform.com/to/vdi84i or passing it along to friends/ reblogging!! thank you!!
Problem: I’m afraid to sit down because I’m pretty sure as soon as I stop moving I won’t be able to start again.
Strategy: Before you sit down, set up your environment and yourself with the expectation that you’ll be there for a while. Make sure you have food and water in easy reach. Gather your book, your phone, projects you’re working on, your computer, headphones, whatever you might want to keep you occupied. Put on comfortable clothes and make sure you have sweatshirts or blankets easily at hand. Grab some extra pillows if that will make the place you’re sitting more comfortable. Use the bathroom before you sit down. If you feel dirty and think you can stay up for long enough to do so, take a shower. If you think you’re going to get stuck for a while, especially if it’s the result of overstimulation, don’t just try to fight it and then beat yourself up if that fails. Accept that you need the break, and set things up beforehand so you can enjoy sitting in one spot for a few hours, rather than stressing out about all the things you need and can’t get to.