Discrimination against drug addicts
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: tone, cohesion, grammar (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Part of a series on|
Discrimination against drug addicts is a form of discrimination against individuals who suffer from a drug addiction. In the process of stigmatization, drug addicts are stereotyped as having a particular set of undesirable traits, in turn causing other individuals to act in a fearful or prejudicial manner toward them. Drug use discrimination also leads to many users being secretive about drug use. As it relates to healthcare stigmatizing attitudes surrounding drug use can cause barriers to treatment uptake and engagement. In some of its manifestations, discrimination against drug addicts involves a violation of human rights.
Drug abusers are often depicted as human beings who are not capable of staying drug free and are often addressed using derogatory terms. The reasoning for not helping patients seek the treatments needed are often due to the terms used to identify them, such as "crackhead" or "junkie". The name calling and stigma places a sense of shame for drug users for a disease that takes control of them physically and psychologically. Discrimination against drug abusers is very common in the workplace, and the most familiar example happens when employers give random drug test to see if the employee will pass it. However, according to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, employers are supposed to ensure that alcoholics and other drug addicts get help and the accommodations that they need. The lack of job opportunities and treatment for drug addicts often results in relapses or in jail.
Drug use discrimination is the unequal treatment people experience because of the drugs they use. People who use or have used illicit drugs may face discrimination in employment, welfare, housing, child custody, and travel, in addition to imprisonment, asset forfeiture, and in some cases forced labor, torture, and execution. Though often prejudicially stereotyped as deviants and misfits, most drug users are well-adjusted and productive members of society. Drug prohibitions may have been partly motivated by racism and other prejudice against minorities, and racial disparities have been found to exist in the enforcement and prosecution of drug laws. Discrimination due to illicit drug use was the most commonly reported type of discrimination among Blacks and Latinos in a 2003 study of minority drug users in New York City, double to triple that due to race. People who use legal drugs such as tobacco and prescription medications may also face discrimination.
Ideas of self-ownership and cognitive liberty affirm rights to use drugs, whether for medicine recreation, or spiritual fulfilment. Those espousing such ideas question the legality of drug prohibition and cite the rights and freedoms enshrined in such documents as the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as protecting personal drug choices. They are inspired by and see themselves following in the tradition of those who have struggled against other forms of discrimination in the past.
Drug policy reform organizations such as the Drug Policy Alliance, the Drug Equality Alliance, the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, and the Beckley Foundation have highlighted the issue of stigma and discrimination in drug policy. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids also recognizes this issue and shares on its website stories that "break through the stigma and discrimination that people with drug or drinking problems often face."
Punitive approaches to drug policy are severely undermining human rights in every region of the world. They lead to the erosion of civil liberties and fair trial standards, the stigmatization of individuals and groups – particularly women, young people, and ethnic minorities – and the imposition of abusive and inhumane punishments.
Although still illegal at the federal level, about half of U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical use and several of those states have laws, or are considering legislation, specifically protecting medical marijuana patients from discrimination in such areas as education, employment, housing, child custody, and organ transplantation.
Drug abusers often choose the jail system because being in the real world exposes them to the very things that made them turn to drugs. Many drug users choose jail so they can utilize the Drug Court Program. The first drug court program was started in 1989 in Florida. The purpose of the drug court program was to put the court's authority in motion to reduce the drug crime rate by offering rehabilitation to drug addicts. In 2015, up to 3,000 drug courts were available in the U.S. and merely 120,000 defendants were being worked with per year. The overall goal of the drug court program is to reduce the need for drugs and the crimes that accompany them. Statistics have led researchers to believe drug court may be an effective resolution to end drug addiction.
Drugs (especially opioids and stimulants) can change the motivational patterns of a person and lead to desocialization and degradation of personality. Acquisition of the drugs some times involves black market activities and leads to criminal social circle.
The drugs Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (amphetamine) are stimulants that are prescribed to kids with ADHD yet in college there's an influx of this drug trafficked. These drugs stimulate your nervous system making you awake and attentive.
Prescribing opioids to patients and related overdose has become a serious problem in the US.
Lack of objective information about drugs
An important role in the process of discrimination is played by the lack of objective information about drug addiction and drug addicts, caused by legislative barriers to scientific research, the displacement of such information by propaganda of various kinds.
Due to the lack of information about drug addiction and drug addicts, people do not understand how an individual can become an addict. Drug addiction has been categorized as a subcategory of mental illness. They are referred to as co-occurring disorders, which means if a person is dealing with an addiction, they may also struggle with a mental illness. Most individuals who suffer from drug dependency are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a mental illness as well. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about 8.9 million adults who have an addiction also have a psychiatric disorder. When dealing with either a mental illness or a drug addiction some symptoms people will experience are being incapable of controlling their own impulses and mood swings.
When an individual falls victim to drug addiction, they will undergo the five stages of addiction which are the first use, the continued use, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. The first use stage, is the stage where individuals experiment with drugs and alcohol. This is the stage where individuals will partake in drug use because of curiosity, peer pressure, emotional problems etc. They discover how the drug will make them feel. In the continued use stage, individuals know how the drug makes them feel and is likely to notice that they're not getting “high” as quickly as they use to. In the tolerance stage, the brain and the body have adjusted to the drug and it takes longer to get the “high” an individual is seeking. Tolerance arrives after a period of continued use and is one of the first warning signs of addiction. In the dependence stage, the brain becomes accustomed to the drug and doesn't function well without it. Substance abusers become physically ill without the use of drugs and will begin to develop symptoms of withdrawal. This is sign that the addiction is beginning to take hold of the individual. In the addiction stage, individuals find it impossible to stop using drugs even if they do not enjoy it or if their behavior has caused problems within an individual's life.
With the increasing number of adults that suffer with an addiction, only a few will receive treatment due to the complexity of health care systems. Most health care systems do not have insurance coverage for addiction recovery and many health care providers have little to no training in treating addiction. Some doctors do not feel comfortable treating an addiction due to their lack of knowledge and training of the topic. This is one of the reasons why drug dependence is difficult to recover from.
Drugs and HIV infection
Among injecting drug users, the incidence of HIV infection is higher than among other drug addicts, however punitive and discriminatory measures against drug addicts are not able to eliminate either the spread of drug addiction or HIV.
Africa has an estimated number 28 million substance users. This number is impacted by the rising availability of injection-based drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Socio-demographic factors are often primary determinants of the health status of drug users. These factors contribute to individual drug use behaviors such as the sharing of needles and the solicitation of sex in exchange for police protection or more drugs. Nutritional status, family support, stigma/discrimination, adherence to medication, and recovery from addiction are also impacted by these socio-demographic factors. Research shows that the majority of drug users transition from the use of non-injection substances to injection substances or use both simultaneously.
In Kenya there is a link between injection-related discrimination, mental health, physical health, and the quality of life for those who inject drugs. The rates of discrimination are linked to higher levels of psychological distress and risk behaviors. Women in Kenya account for 1/10th of the drug users. These women tend to experience the regular discrimination faced by drug users in addition to gender related discrimination. Levels of discrimination are often higher for those that are also HIV positive.
- Corrigan P, Schomerus G, Shuman V, Kraus D, Perlick D, Harnish A, Kulesza M, Kane-Willis K, Qin S, Smelson D (January 2017). "Developing a research agenda for understanding the stigma of addictions Part I: Lessons from the Mental Health Stigma Literature". The American Journal on Addictions. 26 (1): 59–66. doi:10.1111/ajad.12458. PMID 27779803.
Social psychologists have distinguished the largely private experience of stigma in general—stereotypes and prejudice—from the more public, behavioral result which is discrimination. Stereotypes are harmful and disrespectful beliefs about a group. Table 1 lists several examples of stereotypes applied to people with addictions including blame, dangerousness, and unpredictability.
- Corrigan PW, Schomerus G, Shuman V, Kraus D, Perlick D, Harnish A, Kulesza M, Kane-Willis K, Qin S, Smelson D (January 2017). "Developing a research agenda for reducing the stigma of addictions, part II: Lessons from the mental health stigma literature". The American Journal on Addictions. 26 (1): 67–74. doi:10.1111/ajad.12436. PMID 27875626.
- McLaughlin D, Long A (October 1996). "An extended literature review of health professionals' perceptions of illicit drugs and their clients who use them". Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 3 (5): 283–8. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2850.1996.tb00127.x. PMID 9004621.
- Palamar JJ (June 2012). "A pilot study examining perceived rejection and secrecy in relation to illicit drug use and associated stigma". Drug and Alcohol Review. 31 (4): 573–9. doi:10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00406.x. PMID 22176135.
- Gorrell MG (2011). "E-books on EBSCOhost: Combining NetLibrary E-books with the EBSCOhost Platform". Information Standards Quarterly. 23 (2): 31. doi:10.3789/isqv23n2.2011.07.
- "Комиссар ООН призвала прекратить дискриминацию наркоманов" [The UN Commissioner urged to stop discrimination of drug addicts] (in Russian). Mignews. 2009-03-11. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- "Discrimination Against Drug Users". Drug Policy Alliance. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
- "Patients with Addiction Need Treatment - Not Stigma". www.asam.org. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
- "Laws Prohibiting Employment Discrimination Against the Alcoholic and the Dr...: Discovery Service for Xavier Univ of Louisiana". eds.b.ebscohost.com. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
- Ahern J, Stuber J, Galea S (May 2007). "Stigma, discrimination and the health of illicit drug users". Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 88 (2–3): 188–96. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2006.10.014. PMID 17118578.
In addition to the burdens of stigmatization, those who use illicit drugs experience discrimination." "We define drug use discrimination as experiences of rejection and unequal treatment attributed to drug use.
- Della Costa C (2015-06-15). "How Employee Drug Testing Targets the Poor and Minorities". The Cheat Sheet. Retrieved 2015-07-02."Roughly 40% of U.S. employees are subjected to drug testing during the hiring process. The rate of employee drug testing has increased 277% since 1987, and drug testing has even expanded to welfare programs in some states."
- Greenhouse L (2002-03-27). "Justices Rule Drug-Eviction Law Is Fair". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
- Wyatt K (2014-06-15). "Changing pot laws create gray areas in child-welfare and custody cases". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "Nigella Lawson stopped from boarding flight to US after cocaine confession". The Guardian. 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
The US department of homeland security told the Mail that foreigners who had admitted drug taking were deemed "inadmissible".
- Szalavitz M (2012-08-06). "Human Rights Watch: Hundreds of Thousands Still Tortured in Name of Drug Treatment". Time. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Dehghan SK (2012-06-25). "Iranian pair face death penalty after third alcohol offence". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-01."Under Iranian Sharia law, certain crimes such as sodomy, rape, theft, fornication, apostasy and consumption of alcohol for the third time are considered to be "claims of God" and therefore have mandatory death sentences."
- Bennetto J, Todd B (1997-11-05). "Habits: Most drug users are happy, successful people with a taste for the good life". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-07-02."According to a survey of more than 850 people aged between 16 and 24, and 100 in-depth interviews, drug use is commonplace and consumers tend to be independent, lead active lives, and do not lack self-esteem."
- Nicholson T, White J, Duncan D (September 1998). "Drugnet: A Pilot Study of Adult Recreational Drug Use via the WWW". Substance Abuse. 19 (3): 109–121. doi:10.1080/08897079809511380. PMID 12511811.
This survey further documents the existence of a nonclinical population of drug users which is generally healthy, well-adjusted, and productive.
- Block F (2013-01-03). "Racism's Hidden History in the War on Drugs". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
A 1914 New York Times article proclaimed: "Negro Cocaine 'Fiends' Are a New Southern Menace: Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Blacks Because They Have Taken to 'Sniffing.'" A Literary Digest article from the same year claimed that "most of the attacks upon women in the South are the direct result of the cocaine-crazed Negro brain." It comes as no surprise that 1914 was also the year Congress passed the Harrison Tax Act, effectively outlawing opium and cocaine.
- Staples B (2014-07-29). "The Federal Marijuana Ban Is Rooted in Myth and Xenophobia". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
As the legal scholars Richard Bonnie and Charles Whitebread explain in their authoritative history, "The Marihuana Conviction," the drug’s popularity among minorities and other groups practically ensured that it would be classified as a "narcotic," attributed with addictive qualities it did not have, and set alongside far more dangerous drugs like heroin and morphine.
- Sandy KR (2003). "The Discrimination Inherent in America's Drug War: Hidden Racism Revealed by Examining the Hysteria over Crack" (PDF). Alabama Law Review. 54 (2): 665–693. Retrieved 2015-07-05.
Myths about the "superhuman strength, cunning and efficiency" of the Negro on cocaine flourished in the South. Such myths included ideas such as cocaine induced Black men to rape White women, cocaine improved Black marksmanship, and cocaine made Blacks impervious to .32 caliber bullets ("caus[ing] southern police departments to switch to .38 caliber revolvers").
- McKinley J (2014-07-08). "Study Finds Racial Disparity in Criminal Prosecutions". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
One of the starkest disparities emerged in the prosecution of misdemeanor drug crimes like possession of marijuana or cocaine. The study found blacks were 27 percent more likely than whites to receive jail or prison time for misdemeanor drug offenses, while Hispanic defendants were 18 percent more likely to be incarcerated for those crimes.
- Kurtzleben D (2010-08-03). "Data Show Racial Disparity in Crack Sentencing". U.S. News and World Report. Archived from the original on 2015-07-06. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
According to U.S. Sentencing Commission figures, no class of drug is as racially skewed as crack in terms of numbers of offenses. According to the commission, 79 percent of 5,669 sentenced crack offenders in 2009 were black, versus 10 percent who were white and 10 percent who were Hispanic.
- Berman D, Protass H (2013-07-29). "Obama Can Fix the Race Gap in Sentencing Law". Slate. Retrieved 2015-07-06.
...from 1988 to 1995 not a single white person was charged with crack-related crimes in 17 states, including major cities such as Boston, Denver, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
- Minior T, Galea S, Stuber J, Ahern J, Ompad D (Fall 2003). "Racial differences in discrimination experiences and responses among minority substance users". Ethnicity & Disease. 13 (4): 521–7. PMID 14632272.
500 Black and 419 Latino active substance users.
- Sulszberger AG (2011-02-11). "Hospitals Shift Smoking Bans to Smoker Ban". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
Smokers have been turned away from jobs in the past — prompting more than half the states to pass laws rejecting bans on smokers — but the recent growth in the number of companies adopting no-smoker rules has been driven by a surge of interest among health care providers, according to academics, human resources experts and tobacco opponents."Some even prohibit nicotine patches."
- Hargrove D (2011-01-19). "Antismoking Law: Where Do the Smoker's Rights End?". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
According to the American Lung Association’s Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, 12 cities and 1 county in California have adopted ordinances that ban smoking in some percentage of multiunit apartment buildings.
- Katie Z, Goodnough A (2010-10-24). "Drug Testing Poses Quandary for Employers". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
What companies consider an effort to maintain a safe work environment is drawing complaints from employees who cite privacy concerns and contend that they should not be fired for taking legal medications, sometimes for injuries sustained on the job.
- Flanigan J (October 2012). "Three arguments against prescription requirements". Journal of Medical Ethics. 38 (10): 579–86. doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100240. PMID 22844026.
- Howley K (August 1, 2005). "Self-Medicating in Burma: Pharmaceutical freedom in an outpost of tyranny". Reason. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Schorn D (February 11, 2009). "Prisoner Of Pain". 60 Minutes. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Dufton E (Mar 28, 2012). "The War on Drugs: Should It Be Your Right to Use Narcotics?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Bandow D (2012). "Chapter 10: From Fighting the Drug War to Protecting the Right to Use Drugs – Recognizing a Forgotten Liberty" (PDF). Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom. Fraser Institute. pp. 253–280. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Szasz T (1992). Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market. Praeger. ISBN 978-0-8156-0333-7. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Richey W (2005-10-31). "On docket: religious freedom vs. drug laws". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Muwakkil S (2005-11-07). "Give Me Cognitive Liberty". In These Times. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- "What is Cognitive Liberty?". Cognitive Liberty UK. 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2015-07-01.
- Lynch T, ed. (2000). After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century. Cato Institute. ISBN 978-1-882577-93-4. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
- Hager P. "The Drug War and the Constitution". paulhager.org. Retrieved 2015-06-30.Transcript of a speech given at the 1991 Indiana Civil Liberties Union Conference at Indiana University.
- "Background". Drug Equality Alliance. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
- "Drug Discrimination and the case against Casey Hardison". Transform Drug Policy Foundation. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
- "Human Rights and the Drug War". The November Coalition. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
- Lyons D (2009-10-14). "Ethan Nadelmann's Fight to Legalize Marijuana". Newsweek. Retrieved 2015-06-29."We're really following in the footsteps of other movements for individual freedom and social justice in this country."
- "Discrimination Against Drug Users". Drug Policy Alliance. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
- "Selective Prohibition Equals Discrimination". Drug Equality Alliance. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
- "Promoting stigma and discrimination". Count the Costs of the War on Drugs. Transform Drug Policy Foundation. Archived from the original on 2015-07-03. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
- "Human Rights". Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform. Beckley Foundation. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
- "Panel Decries Discrimination Against Addicted". Partnership for Drug-free Kids. Retrieved 2015-07-02.[permanent dead link]
- "Stories of Hope". Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
- Benjamin M (2011-06-02). "Commission: Drugs Win War on Drugs". Time. Retrieved 2015-07-01."End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others."
- Taking Control – Pathways to Drug Policies that Work. Global Commission on Drug Policy. September 2014. p. 12. Retrieved 2014-12-29.
- Duarta N (2015-06-15). "It's legal to smoke pot in Colorado, but you can still get fired for it". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-07-01."Arizona, Delaware and Minnesota offer the strongest protections for medical marijuana patients."
- "Delaware Legal Information". Americans for Safe Access. Retrieved 2015-07-02."Qualifying patients and caregivers are protected from discrimination with employment, education, housing, parental rights, or medical care, including transplants."
- Schwartz C (2015-02-24). "Medical Marijuana Patients In California Are Being Denied Organ Transplants, But That Could Soon Change". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
Six other states where medical marijuana is permitted have adopted laws that protect transplant-seeking patients from discrimination because they treat their symptoms with cannabis.
- "Leaving an Addicted Person in Jail: The Right Choice? | Ocean Hills Recovery". Ocean Hills Recovery. 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
- "Drug Courts & Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration". Drug War Facts. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
- "Drug Courts Are the Answer: Save Money and Reduce Prison Populations". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
- П. Мейлахс (2003). "Опасности моральной паники по поводу наркотиков" [The danger of moral panic about drugs] (in Russian). Кредо-Нью. Archived from the original on 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
- O'Leary D (2016). "Addiction & Mental Illness: Does One Cause the Other?". Dual Diagnosis. Foundations Recovery Network.
- Taylor MF, Coall D, Marquis R, Batten R (December 2016). "Drug addiction is a scourge on the earth and my grandchildren are its victims: The tough love and resilient growth exhibited by grandparents raising the children of drug-dependent mothers". International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. 14 (6): 937–51. doi:10.1007/s11469-016-9645-7.
- Proudfoot, Jesse. 2017. “Drugs, Addiction, and the Social Bond.” Geography Compass 11 (7): n/a-N.PAG. doi:10.1111/gec3.12320.
- Canbolat F, Kul A, Özdemï M, Atïk U, Aydini A, Özden ST, Tarhan KN (December 2017). "Substance Abuse Profiles of Patients Admitted to the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Research, Treatment, and Education Center in Turkey". Turkish Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 14 (3): 294–303. doi:10.4274/tjps.50470.
- Wang Z, Li WX, Zhi-Min L (March 2017). "Similarity and Difference in Drug Addiction Process Between Heroin- and Methamphetamine-Dependent Users". Substance Use & Misuse. 52 (4): 459–467. doi:10.1080/10826084.2016.1245331. PMID 28001458.
- Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. US Department of Health and Human Services. November 2016. PMID 28252892.
- Budambula V, Matoka C, Ouma J, Ahmed AA, Otieno MF, Were T (January 2018). "Socio-demographic and sexual practices associated with HIV infection in Kenyan injection and non-injection drug users". BMC Public Health. 18 (1): 193. doi:10.1186/s12889-018-5100-y. PMC 5789578. PMID 29378631.
- Mburu G, Ayon S, Tsai AC, Ndimbii J, Wang B, Strathdee S, Seeley J (May 2018). ""Who has ever loved a drug addict? It's a lie. They think a 'teja' is as bad person": multiple stigmas faced by women who inject drugs in coastal Kenya". Harm Reduction Journal. 15 (1): 29. doi:10.1186/s12954-018-0235-9. PMC 5970466. PMID 29801494.