Discrimination against drug addicts is a form of discrimination against individuals who suffer from a drug addiction. In the process of stigmatization, drug addicts are stereotyped as having a particular set of undesirable traits, in turn causing other individuals to act in a fearful or prejudicial manner toward them. In some of its manifestations, discrimination against drug addicts involves a violation of human rights.
Drug use discrimination is the unequal treatment people experience because of the drugs they use. People who use or have used illicit drugs may face discrimination in employment, welfare, housing, child custody, and travel, in addition to imprisonment, asset forfeiture, and in some cases forced labor, torture, and execution. Though often prejudicially stereotyped as deviants and misfits, most drug users are well-adjusted and productive members of society. Drug prohibitions may have been partly motivated by racism and other prejudice against minorities, and racial disparities have been found to exist in the enforcement and prosecution of drug laws. Discrimination due to illicit drug use was the most commonly reported type of discrimination among Blacks and Latinos in a 2003 study of minority drug users in New York City, double to triple that due to race. People who use legal drugs such as tobacco and prescription medications may also face discrimination.
Ideas of self-ownership and cognitive liberty affirm rights to use drugs, whether for medicine recreation, or spiritual fulfilment. Those espousing such ideas question the legality of drug prohibition and cite the rights and freedoms enshrined in such documents as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as protecting personal drug choices. They are inspired by and see themselves following in the tradition of those who have struggled against other forms of discrimination in the past.
Drug policy reform organizations such as the Drug Policy Alliance, the Drug Equality Alliance, the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, and the Beckley Foundation have highlighted the issue of stigma and discrimination in drug policy. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids also recognizes this issue and shares on its website stories that "break through the stigma and discrimination that people with drug or drinking problems often face."
A report issued by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, critical of the global war on drugs, states, under "Undermining Human Rights, Fostering Discrimination":
Punitive approaches to drug policy are severely undermining human rights in every region of the world. They lead to the erosion of civil liberties and fair trial standards, the stigmatization of individuals and groups – particularly women, young people, and ethnic minorities – and the imposition of abusive and inhumane punishments.
Although still illegal at the federal level, about half of U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical use and several of those states have laws, or are considering legislation, specifically protecting medical marijuana patients from discrimination in such areas as education, employment, housing, child custody, and organ transplantation.
Drugs (especially opioids and stimulants) can change the motivational patterns of a person and lead to desocialization and degradation of personality. Acquisition of the drugs some times involves black market activities and leads to criminal social circle.
Lack of objective information about drugs
An important role in the process of discrimination is played by the lack of objective information about drug addiction and drug addicts, caused by legislative barriers to scientific research, the displacement of such information by propaganda of various kinds.
Drugs and HIV infection
Among injecting drug users, the incidence of HIV infection is higher than among other drug addicts, however punitive and discriminatory measures against drug addicts are not able to eliminate either the spread of drug addiction or HIV.
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Social psychologists have distinguished the largely private experience of stigma in general—stereotypes and prejudice—from the more public, behavioral result which is discrimination. Stereotypes are harmful and disrespectful beliefs about a group. Table 1 lists several examples of stereotypes applied to people with addictions including blame, dangerousness, and unpredictability.
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illicit drugs experience discrimination." "We define drug use discrimination as experiences of rejection and unequal treatment attributed to drug
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The US department of homeland security told the Mail that foreigners who had admitted drug taking were deemed "inadmissible".
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This survey further documents the existence of a nonclinical population of drug users which is generally healthy, well-adjusted, and productive.
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A 1914 New York Times article proclaimed: "Negro Cocaine 'Fiends' Are a New Southern Menace: Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Blacks Because They Have Taken to 'Sniffing.'" A Literary Digest article from the same year claimed that "most of the attacks upon women in the South are the direct result of the cocaine-crazed Negro brain." It comes as no surprise that 1914 was also the year Congress passed the Harrison Tax Act, effectively outlawing opium and cocaine.
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As the legal scholars Richard Bonnie and Charles Whitebread explain in their authoritative history, "The Marihuana Conviction," the drug’s popularity among minorities and other groups practically ensured that it would be classified as a "narcotic," attributed with addictive qualities it did not have, and set alongside far more dangerous drugs like heroin and morphine.
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Myths about the "superhuman strength, cunning and efficiency" of the Negro on cocaine flourished in the South. Such myths included ideas such as cocaine induced Black men to rape White women, cocaine improved Black marksmanship, and cocaine made Blacks impervious to .32 caliber bullets ("caus[ing] southern police departments to switch to .38 caliber revolvers").
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One of the starkest disparities emerged in the prosecution of misdemeanor drug crimes like possession of marijuana or cocaine. The study found blacks were 27 percent more likely than whites to receive jail or prison time for misdemeanor drug offenses, while Hispanic defendants were 18 percent more likely to be incarcerated for those crimes.
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According to U.S. Sentencing Commission figures, no class of drug is as racially skewed as crack in terms of numbers of offenses. According to the commission, 79 percent of 5,669 sentenced crack offenders in 2009 were black, versus 10 percent who were white and 10 percent who were Hispanic.
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...from 1988 to 1995 not a single white person was charged with crack-related crimes in 17 states, including major cities such as Boston, Denver, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
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Smokers have been turned away from jobs in the past — prompting more than half the states to pass laws rejecting bans on smokers — but the recent growth in the number of companies adopting no-smoker rules has been driven by a surge of interest among health care providers, according to academics, human resources experts and tobacco opponents. "Some even prohibit nicotine patches."
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According to the American Lung Association’s Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, 12 cities and 1 county in California have adopted ordinances that ban smoking in some percentage of multiunit apartment buildings.
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What companies consider an effort to maintain a safe work environment is drawing complaints from employees who cite privacy concerns and contend that they should not be fired for taking legal medications, sometimes for injuries sustained on the job.
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- ^ Duarta, Nigel (2015-06-15). "It's legal to smoke pot in Colorado, but you can still get fired for it". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-07-01."Arizona, Delaware and Minnesota offer the strongest protections for medical marijuana patients."
- ^ "Delaware Legal Information". Americans for Safe Access. Retrieved 2015-07-02."Qualifying patients and caregivers are protected from discrimination with employment, education, housing, parental rights, or medical care, including transplants."
- ^ Schwartz, Carly (2015-02-24). "Medical Marijuana Patients In California Are Being Denied Organ Transplants, But That Could Soon Change". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
Six other states where medical marijuana is permitted have adopted laws that protect transplant-seeking patients from discrimination because they treat their symptoms with cannabis.
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