An image of the offending poster being used on the change.org petition.
An image of the offending poster being used on the change.org petition.

COMMENT: Turns out drug users don't like being called junkies

IT is a first for me, but I am the subject of an online petition against something I have done.

It stems from a poster (these are the things that are displayed outside newsagents) that I wrote a week or so ago: Junkie scum: Pick up syringes.

Mea culpa, in hindsight, this was a poorly-worded, over-the-top, tabloid reaction to our front page story on January 30.

The wording was very unlike me and I apologise if I offended anybody in the process.

My blood was boiling because we were running a story about a blood-filled syringe which had been discarded on a sports ground that is heavily used by children in the middle of Lismore.

Did the junkie poster go too far?

This poll ended on 06 February 2015.

Current Results

Yes - you should have used more sensitive language

28%

No - it's fair enough

43%

No - it didn't go far enough

28%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The syringe was laying in the grass a mere 200m from the nearest sharps disposal bin.

I have learned a few things since reading that story, writing that poster and the reaction to the wording on the poster.

Firstly, although there is fear in the community that you can contract HIV from a needle stick injury, there has never been a reported case.

The second thing I learned was that the word "junkie" offends intravenous drug users.

The politically correct, less discriminatory, non-stigmatising terminology to use is 'people who use drugs'.

So the message I want to send 'people who use drugs' is could you please pick up your discarded, blood-filled syringes and place them in the nearest sharps container.

Failing that, find a container, drop it in, seal it and then put it in the rubbish so no one has to go and get a test for HIV or hepatitis.



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