The Junkie Bill of Rights
What is “Junkie-Apartheid”? Remember South Africa where the majority of people were segregated and controlled by the minority? That’s what’s happening to drug users here…We are segregated and persecuted…anybody who uses drugs is scared shitless these days and for good reason…our civil rights have vanished. To that end, I suggest the following dream list to keep in mind…Please feel free to add to this or subtract from it. – Vicki Jacobs
1. Decriminalization of All Drug Laws… hands off our bodies…like the abortion struggle, the principal is control over our bodies, not government control.
2. Clean Drugs With No Bullshit: Think about it…what other business is so unresponsive to consumers? Whatever happened to customer satisfaction? Would any other big business last this long while delivering such an inferior product? Demand testing of drugs for purity of content–not drug-testing of consumers!
3. Consumer-Controlled Junkie Services: detoxes where the client determines the method of treatment, rather than the provider…demand availability of the latest technological advances in detox including electro-stimulation machines and electro-acupuncture to reduce withdrawal symptoms. The people should control their own technology. Harm reduction therapy…drug-management therapy…these services are supposedly for the client, yet they are controlled solely by the system of “Junkie-Apartheid”.
4. Consumer-controlled Drug Maintenance: This means methadone clinics where the client determines the dosage and is not penalized for dirty urine, etc….demand the right to be treated with dignity…demand injectable methadone for shooters and heroin maintenance for those who prefer it (probably most of us).
5. Non-discrimination in health services: We all know too well what happens to drug-users in the health-care system…resulting in a well-founded reluctance to seek medical care…To most doctors, we’re just drug-seeking scum…demand respect.
6. Housing for Drug-Users: It’s nearly impossible to obtain any kind of decent housing for known drug-users, leaving the only options shelters -which ain’t nothin’ but de facto prisons- or the alienation of the streets. As citizens of the richest country on the planet, demand respect.
7. Jobs for Junkies: I.Q. testing of drug-prisoners in San Quentin found their IQs higher than the national average, yet known users are not hired or summarily fired. Demand an end to drug-testing; replace it with competency-testing for the job itself.
We’re talking basic civil rights here. We are a disenfranchised minority. Nobody will hand us our civil rights -we will have to fight for them, especially now when the battle lines are obvious. Let’s stop bickering and think, dream, and organize for our collective future.
Above Manifesto is dedicated to Rod Sorge, who I pray is watching over us from a better place. Rod, we miss you more than we can say…you gave your life for this cause…I hope we’re deserving of your sacrifice.
Vicki Jacobs is an acupuncturist at the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center/Needle Exchange in NYC