The Drug Policy Alliance is calling on the Associated Press to stop using the term “addict,” and to instead use descriptions that present a more holistic picture of people struggling with substance abuse.
“’Addict’ is one of those words that so many of us use, largely without pausing to wonder if we should. We just take for granted that it’s totally okay to describe a human being with one word, ‘addict’ — a word with overwhelmingly negative connotations to many people,” Meghan Ralston wrote on the organization’s website.
Jag Davis, the publications manager for the alliance, picked up on Ralston’s call in an article published on the Huffington Post. He took it a step further, calling on the Associated Press to stop using the term addict in its 2015 stylebook, for which the AP is currently taking suggestions.
“We have to stop using objectifying and dehumanizing language to describe people who use drugs or who struggle with drugs,” he wrote. “The term ‘addict’ as a noun is totally outdated and should be replaced with ‘person dependent on drugs’ or ‘people who struggle with addiction.’”
Last year, the AP announced that it would stop using the term “illegal immigrant,” opting instead for more humanizing descriptions.
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