The words we use matter. Be it “junkie” instead of “addict”, or “she had a few drinks” versus “she took drugs”, the words chosen shape the emotional response.
The callous attitude that wants us to maintain criminal penalties for petty drug possession is not one premised on practicality or reasonableness. It is an ideological belief bathed in emotion that sees drug users as impure and addicts as a sub-human scourge who block the way into Brown Thomas.
For these people, a young person having their stomach pumped from excessive alcohol intake is “a naïve teen that went too far”, while a 24 year-old sitting in a field listening to their favourite band caught smoking cannabis is a “criminal” to be put in handcuffs, humiliatingly escorted out of the venue by police and given a criminal record scarring her life prospects forever.
Source: Conor Boyle, The University Times, 02/08/17