by Manisha Krishnan, Vice News
A growing number of academics are openly discussing their past and present drug use in an attempt to reduce stigma and help overcome addiction.
When drug policy researcher Jean-Sébastien Fallu saw a recent op-ed in the Atlantic argue that destigmatizing drug use has been “a profound mistake,” he was furious.
The piece said “cultural disapproval of harmful behavior can be a potent force for protecting public health and safety” and that we need “more consistent rejection of drug use, not less.”
Fallu, 50, an associate professor at Université de Montréal’s school of psychoeducation, believes the opposite is true. Stigma, he said, is leading to worse health inequities and excluding people from society. It’s a feeling he’s familiar with, as an academic who for years hid the fact that he uses drugs. But now he’s “come out” about the fact that he enjoys using LSD, MDMA, 2C-B (a stimulant and hallucinogenic), weed, and alcohol, and that he thinks they’ve made him a better, more confident person. He believes his honesty, coupled with the respect he’s garnered through his career, is “destroying people’s perception that if you use drugs you’re a bad person and you cannot achieve anything good.”
“I refuse to be dehumanized,” he said.
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