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Advice about a situation involving prejudice against drug users

cduggles

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So here’s the sitch:
I was talking to a clinician about a mixup where someone thought I was getting counseling for addiction.

He was all offended on my behalf (I wasn’t offended) and said it’s obvious who is a drug addict/user and who isn’t.

I was really surprised and then we got interrupted.

My life advice question is do I bring this up again with him, and if so what can I say that would helpfully address the situation?
This is someone who obviously has disdain for drug users and that concerns me because their job will inevitably involve someone with drug problems and I would like to constructively point out that people from all walks of life are addicts, etc.

I await your advice.
 

cduggles

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Why not ust say, "Hey you know people from all walks of life can find themselves with an addiction problem?". Might be pointless tho because someone like that isn't going to likely change their mind.
I would have said something like that had our conversation not been interrupted.
Now I have bring it up somehow without it being weird. 😕
It’s not like I think I’ll make this person less judgy, but you never know, and I’ll feel better if I at least try.
 

nznity

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He/She probably lives in a cave if he thinks like that. IMHO it's pointless to try to argue with someone so close minded and that has prejudice against drug users. What is baffling to me is that a clinician thinks like that because he/she is supposed to be even more informed about drugs and how they work in the brain than a common/regular person that has no knowledge or just basic knowledge in the scientific/medical field. Crazy world we live in, innit?
 

Hylight

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Prejudice against drug addicts is pretty common among doctors, actually, from what I've seen.
sometimes. . i think the ones that are not, lost their licence. but i could be wrong now.
 

Xorkoth

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Well these days they have to be really careful prescribing pain killers and benzos. But that doesn't mean they have to regard drug users as morally inferior scum.
 

Hylight

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You know if i would have ever even had a clue, i most certainly should have went to medical school so i could write my own prescriptions.

but i have explained to the psychiatrist that i felt ashamed to have to just be able to ask for xanax for anxiety and to be able to sleep.

he said he understood but that he couldn't prescribe pain medication bc the other doctor over prescribed.
lol. i'm laughing.

when they tried to take the pain management doctors' licence and he left the health care medical support, i really cried BECAUSE he really cared and would listen. he monitored and drug tested and what more did they want him to do . . . oh, yes, stop giving out pain medication. lol.

i don't know, i am sorry.
i can't take kratom because it gets me sick and i feel bad and i want to fall down. but it seems to help others.

thank you for listening, and also for your thread. ☺
 

Vastness

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Meant to respond to this earlier - I would say that in a vacuum you definitely should say something, but this may be complicated depending on where you live in the world, and, to be blunt, whether the merest hint of sympathy for drug users and their afflictions would be grounds for putting you on some kind of list which would put you at risk of state-sanctioned persecution in the future... whether this persecution takes the relatively passive form of denying you certain painkilling medications should you need them in the future, or the more actively malevolent form of monitoring your communication as a potential subversive and eventually manufacturing a reason to incarcerate you. I'm gonna presume that this latter occurrence is probably not likely, hopefully, but I have been surprised before even in my own country where we have a social healthcare system by unexpected consequences of the ingrained prejudices of potentially just 1 individual. This didn't happen to me personally, but a friend of mine confessed a long history of drug use to a doctor during either a bad comedown or possibly bad trip - mind you this is a person who was never a "problem user" in the traditional sense of the term - and was surprised to find out later by chance that there was now both a literal and metaphorical red mark against their name which no doubt would affect the kind of substances they would be prescribed in the future, should they need them.

Anyway, so that said, and with the understanding that considerations of personal safety are important and something you need to consider, if you judge the risk to your own current and future wellbeing to be low enough and within your own risk tolerance, then you should say something. I'll concede it's not black and white but generally speaking if people hold prejudiced views, and you feel able to challenge them, then you should do so. Because it might be, and often is, that they have just never had these particular ingrained prejudices challenged, they've always hung around with people who share similar views to them, or people who would disagree but think that it's probably just not worth the effort, and maybe it's not, but you won't know until you try. You shouldn't expect to be able to change anyone's mind in a single conversation, of course, but I think it's enough just to force people to think differently about something for a moment - just to plant that seed of doubt which they might forget about forever and write you off as another bleeding heart liberal junkie sympathiser or whatever their preferred vernacular... or they might think about what you've said later, maybe something else will happen that reminds them of it, maybe the ideas you've proposed to them start to take root and the next time they're dealing with someone with a substance use problem they treat them just a little more compassionately, whether consciously or not. If this is the case, or even if there is a chance this is the case, then I would say that any effort on your part to challenge an ignorant, prejudiced and distinctly discompassionate viewpoint is definitely not wasted.

I would say if you're not going to see this doctor again anyway, then you're under no moral obligation to march into his office and make a big deal out of it. But if you are going to see him again, I would not pretend like it's nothing. It doesn't have to be a confrontation of course - in fact it shouldn't be a confrontation, if you are to have any hope of having some positive impact then you should approach it in the friendliest way possible.

What I would do maybe is just say something like, "Hey, so I noticed last time we spoke you seemed kind of offended on my behalf about the mix-up with addiction counselling?" then go from there... This is a very soft approach I think and if this seems to rile them significantly then you might be in for an uphill struggle, and could be forgiven for aborting depending on how confident you're feeling about making your point - although I would suggest persisting just a little further.

You can follow up by just asking "What's up with that?", and again, go from there, or perhaps, just state that it's been on your mind, that it bothers you because there is already so much prejudice towards drug users, which they don't deserve, and you know this because X, Y and Z. You know your own reasons for wanting to challenge what in the very best estimation is a a flippant regurgitation of a prejudice that they have not thought about very much but are not used to having challenged, and at worst an expression of considered, personally held but evidently harmful beliefs.

So ultimately I would say just be honest, be friendly and open and don't write them off as ignorant, not worth the effort, backwards, whatever, even though some or all of these things might be true, you won't know until you have a proper attempt at speaking to them about it. But without being confrontational, be direct and clear about your reasons for bringing this up. If you need to rehearse your own viewpoints so that you can speak them confidently, do so - no shame in doing this, even values which we consider ourselves to hold very strongly, if we are not used to actually being called to defend them, we can catch ourselves forgetting some of the explicitly rational reasons that we believe these things - or, sometimes (maybe all the time, really) we believe things for emotional reasons and don't bother to trace back the rationality inherent to these beliefs, which we all need to do if we are to have any hope of convincing anyone else of them.

Again depending on where you live and the personal risk to yourself in doing this, you can admit to being a drug user yourself (if this is true for yourself, I'm just assuming, maybe it isn't but this goes for anyone else reading), or, more cautiously, perhaps, that you have known many drug users personally and the stereotypes do not hold. I used to always hold off on actually self-identifying as a drug user, even when discussing drug related topics with crowds that were highly likely to be drug friendly like charity events promoting decriminalisation and whatnot - it's stupid of course but I had internalised the prohibitionist narrative that says that being a drug user will impact my credibility, which I think is a hard thing to shake. But at one of these aforementioned events the founder of one of these organisations opened his talk by saying amongst other things that one of the reasons he had founded the organisation was that he was a drug user himself, which personally struck me as incredibly brave and I intend to try to emulate this bravery in any future interactions where any case I might be making for, I'll say it, pro-drug points of view might be strengthened by my own admission of being a drug user - and, of course, if I'm not endangering myself by doing so, I wouldn't do this in front of a member of law enforcement while carrying illegal substances on my person.

Slight diversion there but I think it's still directly relevant to the topic at hand - of course it isn't necessary to self-identify as a drug user and this might be explicitly inadvisable depending on where you live, and it might not even be true for you which shouldn't diminish the strength of the case you (hopefully) are going to make either way, but if this person thinks that it is truly so obvious who is a drug user and who isn't then it might shake up their worldview a bit to discover that this is not, in fact, the case.
 
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Wilson Wilson

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Prejudice against drug addicts is pretty common among doctors, actually, from what I've seen.
Doctors also know much less about the drugs they prescribe than most people assume, especially if they're only GP's not specialists or consultants. But even psychiatrists do some shit I think is insane like prescribe strong antipsychotics just for anxiety.

They are also terrible judges of who is a "druggie" and who is not. They go on stereotypes. Doctors tend to assume I am perfectly innocent, I mean I'm an anxious nerdy looking guy who works with computers, what would I know about drugs? Obviously I use this to my advantage when it comes to getting scripts. But there is absolutely a huge amount of classism with doctors, they are middle class and will favour other middle class people with special treatment to speak generally.
 

F.U.B.A.R.

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Doctors also know much less about the drugs they prescribe than most people assume, especially if they're only GP's not specialists or consultants. But even psychiatrists do some shit I think is insane like prescribe strong antipsychotics just for anxiety.

They are also terrible judges of who is a "druggie" and who is not. They go on stereotypes. Doctors tend to assume I am perfectly innocent, I mean I'm an anxious nerdy looking guy who works with computers, what would I know about drugs? Obviously I use this to my advantage when it comes to getting scripts. But there is absolutely a huge amount of classism with doctors, they are middle class and will favour other middle class people with special treatment to speak generally.
Well, that's because normal middle class people dont become drug addicts - obviously... 8(
 

Wilson Wilson

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Well, that's because normal middle class people dont become drug addicts - obviously... 8(
Oh never. Literally impossible. As soon as you buy a Range Rover you become immune to drug addiction don't ya know?

Never mind that all the politicians are on coke.

 

✿Dai₷y✿

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Looks like you have come across a stereotypical arsehole clinician, easy enough to spot amongst the reputable ones by their massive ego and small penis.
 

Xorkoth

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Doctors also know much less about the drugs they prescribe than most people assume, especially if they're only GP's not specialists or consultants. But even psychiatrists do some shit I think is insane like prescribe strong antipsychotics just for anxiety.

They are also terrible judges of who is a "druggie" and who is not. They go on stereotypes. Doctors tend to assume I am perfectly innocent, I mean I'm an anxious nerdy looking guy who works with computers, what would I know about drugs? Obviously I use this to my advantage when it comes to getting scripts. But there is absolutely a huge amount of classism with doctors, they are middle class and will favour other middle class people with special treatment to speak generally.
It's true, most people seem to think doctors have some sort of omniscience regarding drug information. When in fact most doctors went through their courses and have no real obligation to stay up to date. A lot of doctors just accept whatever information is in drug pamphlets given to them by pharmaceutical reps who throw them kickbacks for prescribing. Whereas if you're into drugs and neuroscience as a hobby/passion, and have lots of real-world first hand experience, you may know a hell of a lot more than most doctors. They don't like you trying to tell them you know more though, you get seen as a druggie.
 

Meth novice 79

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I was once one of those with ‘prejudice’
Until you’ve lived it, either directly or through a loved ones experience it I don’t think you can understand.

I personally take issue with the statement ‘it’s obvious who is and who isnt’
What absolute garbage, and you’d think a professional would know better.
Sure, you can tell in later stages, but by then it’s almost impossible to get the person help.

One should never assume anything
I doubt anything you say will make an ounce of difference.
That persons a prick
 

MonkeysOnEcstacy

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So here’s the sitch:
I was talking to a clinician about a mixup where someone thought I was getting counseling for addiction.

He was all offended on my behalf (I wasn’t offended) and said it’s obvious who is a drug addict/user and who isn’t.

I was really surprised and then we got interrupted.

My life advice question is do I bring this up again with him, and if so what can I say that would helpfully address the situation?
This is someone who obviously has disdain for drug users and that concerns me because their job will inevitably involve someone with drug problems and I would like to constructively point out that people from all walks of life are addicts, etc.

I await your advice.
When you say "he was all offended on [your] behalf" - how are you sure he was offended by the subject matter and not the simply the falsity of the claim? Maybe they are a champion of truth? Maybe they think the other person is an idiot from past dealings and it came out in this encounter? Maybe he just thinks highly of you and wouldn't want any gossip that could negatively impact you in that environment being spread?

How do you know they have a disdain for drug users? What sort of job do they hold that you are so concerned about their contact with an individual with drug problems?
 

Wilson Wilson

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It's true, most people seem to think doctors have some sort of omniscience regarding drug information. When in fact most doctors went through their courses and have no real obligation to stay up to date. A lot of doctors just accept whatever information is in drug pamphlets given to them by pharmaceutical reps who throw them kickbacks for prescribing. Whereas if you're into drugs and neuroscience as a hobby/passion, and have lots of real-world first hand experience, you may know a hell of a lot more than most doctors. They don't like you trying to tell them you know more though, you get seen as a druggie.
It should also be noted that if you want to ask a qualified expert about medications you go to a pharmacist. They get new training either every three or six months, can't remember off the top of my head, but the point is their entire job is to know about the different medications. They're the experts who will give you straight answers and up to date info not just what they got told at school 20 years ago or what Pfizer told them about how great their new drug is last week.

To be entirely fair, some GP's are excellent and even though they're not drug experts they look at how their patients react to certain meds and base their views on this instead of marketing info or outdated info from a single lecture at uni. For example my GP agreed with me that pregabalin was addictive and gave me a taper for it even though my psychiatrist was happy to keep chucking higher doses at me assuring me it was fine, and even told me off for lowering my dose because apparently I wasn't taking enough. I would not be shocked at all if that bloke was being paid off by Pfizer or getting some form of kickback, he was a private psychiatrist so it's very possible, and this was when it was still a patented drug. Funnily enough pregabalin was only controlled after Pfizer's patent expired. Coincidence I'm sure.

At the same time my GP is happy to give me stims, benzos, and mild opiates even though most doctors are too scared to hand out scripts like that (especially benzos) because instead of going by stigma he goes by treating each patient individually... I've been warned the benzos and opiates are addictive and to be careful how I use them, I have always respected the trust my doctor gives me, and therefore I have little issue getting those scripts.

But again there is a definite element of classism involved with these things, undeniably. Pretty sure if I was a chav I wouldn't get the scripts I do. But I am the kind of person who "looks presentable" to doctors. I've only ever been denied by one nurse... and even then I just waited for the shifts to change and got what I wanted anyway (I had just had surgery, was recovering in hospital, and was only asking for a puny 10mg oral morphine, got told "you're playing me" by this miserable nurse - thankfully once I got out the hospital a quick call to my GP netted me a bottle of Oramorph no questions asked!)
 

Ganjcat

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So here’s the sitch:
I was talking to a clinician about a mixup where someone thought I was getting counseling for addiction.

He was all offended on my behalf (I wasn’t offended) and said it’s obvious who is a drug addict/user and who isn’t.

I was really surprised and then we got interrupted.

My life advice question is do I bring this up again with him, and if so what can I say that would helpfully address the situation?
This is someone who obviously has disdain for drug users and that concerns me because their job will inevitably involve someone with drug problems and I would like to constructively point out that people from all walks of life are addicts, etc.

I await your advice.
Ive dealt with people like this a lot and honestly cduggles.. Just be yourself just be honest dont go in there with a plan or a planned speech because you might forget it anyway and look foolish but people will respect you more anyway if your honest and maybe talk about your personal experience with drugs and how they help you but try not to sound to pro drugs because then you will be labbled as a naive drug user you know how an anti drugs person looks to us well imagine what a pro drug user looks like to them you have to have the right tone etc. I believe in you :)
 
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