Intended for healthcare professionals


Avoid stigmatising language for people who use drugs, global commission urges

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 10 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k140
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. London

People who use drugs are unfairly stigmatised by being described in derogatory terms by some clinicians, politicians, and the media, a global report has said.1

Terms such as “junkie,” “addict,” and “drug/substance abuser” should be avoided, said the Global Commission on Drug Policy—a body made up of political leaders, cultural figures, and personalities from the business sector, including Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, and Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

In a report published on 9 January the commission said that it wanted to tackle worldwide problems in drug perception. “Prejudices …

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