When we started this project, some members of our team harboured deep reservations about taking on a project that had to do with drug use. As our team member Michelle mentions in the video in the first bubble of ‘Our Story’, some feel the only role society should have in addressing drug related harm is teaching abstinence and persecuting those involved in its sale and use. Other members of the team, however, remained steadfast in beliefs of an exact opposite nature, arguing that the government ought to have absolutely no role in the regulation of drugs or their use.
Perhaps the most interesting consequence this project has had on our own team is how it shifted both sides of this issue. Many of our members who were originally n favour of abstinence-only approaches to drug abuse saw their beliefs break down in light of the conversations we had with ex addicts, social and health care works, policy experts, moral philosophers and more who place large amounts of responsibility on society to reduce the harm caused by drug abuse.
Likewise, the members who were originally in favour of no government regulation of drugs or their use were shaped by the same conversations, but in a different way. Indeed, they have come to see that the government does have a crucial to play, but not in spending resources to aid the persecution of the most marginalised members of society; rather, in establishing infrastructure suited for individuals in all stages of rehabilitation, whether this be programs for those who are ready to quit full-stop, or providing safe spaces for those who aren’t quite there yet. Thus, as with anything in life, when it comes to reevaluating our own ingrained prejudices on social issues, informed moderation is the key.
While substance use is still a sensitive subject, we hope that through our project might help reduce the stigma that continues to surround this issue. Thank you for reading.