Racially Coded Language Hurts Everyone who Struggles with Addiction (Drug Policy Alliance)

January 31, 2021

In 2014, the New York Times ran an article titled Addicted on Staten Island which stated, among other things, that “across the country, one of the most significant social shifts of the 21st century has been the migration of drug use from centers of urban poverty to places that are suburban, white and middle- or marginally middle-class.”

This coded language suggesting drug use has been historically more of an issue in the racially coded ‘centers of urban policy’ is not only a damaging stereotype that we still see today, but is also not true. Drug Policy Alliance policy coordinator Kassandra Fredrique responded to the article in a blog post:

Not only is this not true, the racially coded language is detrimental to all those that struggle with addiction.

Drug use and addiction occur in communities of all color; in fact, data constantly show that drug use and drug selling are fairly consistent across racial lines. The real difference is in the way society treats different communities dealing with addiction.


Read the whole piece here: https://drugpolicy.org/blog/racially-coded-language-hurts-everyone-who-struggles-addiction

For more on the Black History of Harm Reduction, visit www.aidsnetwork.ca/blackhistory