Stigmatization & Conditional Acceptance

By Garland Hanson and Olympia Fulcher

Our acceptance of drug users is conditional, similarly how our acceptance of drugs is conditional. We promote the use of antidepressants, go out to bars on the weekends, and praise recovering drug addicts. We stigmatize non-prescription amphetamines, and ‘hard’ drugs – the stuff we cook, the stuff we inject. Throughout the 1990’s, the dangers of marijuana commercials plagued our T.V.s, depicting marijuana users as lazy, useless, and addicted. A couple decades later, we’ve almost normalized marijuana use. Now marijuana is often described as a non-addictive, pain relieving, anti-emetic medication, prescribed to people that suffer from anxiety to those going through chemotherapy. Changes in state laws have led to changes in our norms and stigmas surrounding marijuana use.

Looking at the transformation in reputation marijuana and marijuana users have had, might we consider that other drugs and other drug users may be unnecessarily demonized and stigmatized as well?

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