There is a significant and disturbing disconnect between our knowledge of addiction and mental health disorders and the language that exists today much of which is rooted in prior centuries.
Language influences perception which informs policy and standards. Ask yourself when you use a derogatory term such as “junkie” or “dope fiend” whether you would like that label attached to you. Probably not. Until we change our language, we will not change our societal perception of addictive and mental disorders, substance use treatment and law enforcement policies which will preclude the possibility of those affected and afflicted coming out from the shadows of a marginalized, deviant subculture. We are all culpable!