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Will Godfrey Will Godfrey

Just Possibly the Worst Drug Infographic We’ve Seen


Stigmatization and ignorance are the basis of this colorful contribution to drug ed.

42 Substance
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For those of us who are sick of scaremongering and the stigmatization of people who use drugs, reminders of what we’re up against are frequent. But the infographic below—produced by Drug Rehab Programs and titled “Drug Addict Profiles”—which arrived in Substance.com‘s inbox this morning, displays gobsmacking levels of prejudice and ignorance. Its obvious defects, too numerous to list in full, include:

* crudely stereotypical depictions, such as a skeletal appearance for “Matt the Meth Head,” a stained tank top for “Andy the Alcoholic,” tie-dye for “Steve the Stoner,” etc.

* stigmatizing, unsubstantiated attributes like “smells terrible” and “lies a lot”

* the cringeworthy use of military-rank addict labels to indicate the supposed levels of severity of addictions, such as “Private 1st Class Addict,” “Addict Sergeant Major” and “Addict General”

* misleading or plain wrong information everywhere: the assertion that “Methamphetamine is a drug that does not allow much room for casual use. Users quickly become addicts” (the large majority of people who use meth, or drugs in general, do not become addicted); the uncritical “Alcoholism is considered a progressive disease” (it is believed to be in some quarters, but wrongly); the tasteless and false “Chances of Death by Substance” star scores, such as 9/10 for heroin (way too high for heroin, or any other drug) and 1/10 for marijuana (marijuana overdose kills a grand total of zero people annually); and much more

At the bottom is a sheepish disclaimer: “Rehab-Programs.org has put together this informational graphic as a stereotypical example of the extremes. Addicts come in all shapes and sizes and shouldn’t be limited to the views expressed in this document.”

It’s reminiscent of when people begin sentences with the words, “I’m not racist, but…”

[Update, December 11: Following a request (see comment below), Rehab-Programs.org removed this infographic from their site. We appreciate their response.]

addict profiles

Courtesy of Drug Rehab Programs