Fighting Stigma: A Former College Professor Opens Up About Meth Use
December 11, 2015
Stigma is a complex social issue and one that has wide-reaching and detrimental effects on health, safety and wellness. People who use drugs may be stigmatized in a way that leads them to conceal their use and prevents them from accessing beneficial health care, social or substance use services-increasing their vulnerability to infectious diseases and other harms.
Ahead of World AIDS Day, BETA explores the difficult issue of stigma, drug use and HIV with a personal look at one man's relationship to crystal meth.
Tim Pursell, Ph.D., keeps a closely cropped beard and wears angular dark-framed glasses and a dark blazer, blending in with many other middle-aged men in San Francisco. The 48-year old former European history college professor self-identifies as a kinky gay man with a "few mental health issues." He also describes himself as a crystal meth addict.
"I'm a highly-educated, articulate tweaker," he said.
The reason he's OK bringing his substance use to light? To help combat the stigma that can swirl around substance use-especially meth.
Stigma associated with drug use can make people who use substances feel social rejection, discrimination or somehow "lesser than." The problem with stigma attached to substance use is that it can create a social context where people who use substances do not, or cannot, reach out for the help and care that they need-increasing the harms that can come to people who use drugs.
This excerpt was cross-posted with the permission of BETAblog.org. Read the full article.
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