People using drugs and substances, or more commonly called drug-users, are human beings. Just because injecting heroin users are see in alleys, sprawled on the dirty pavement, shivering or completely delirious of their surroundings, does not give you the right to embrace prejudice.
People are prone to passing out judgments on to drug-users, and by doing so, society makes a mockery of its quest for compassion and merciful behaviours.
During my time in Bangkok, I came across some Thais who openly expressed the ugliness of their views and hearts. Drug use (or abuse) is seen as a societal problem, or social ill, in Thailand, Malaysia and other countries in the region. Yet society stimulates this problem by demonising and criminalising drug-users. If drug abuse requires medical intervention, then why this grand self-righteous prejudice? And why forcibly place a drug-user into a hell-bent bootcamp? What does it hope to achieve? Society is well aware of the fermenting violence and redundancy of institutionalised care and rehabilitation centres. Perhaps society would prefer to sweep the problems that we created under the rug?
Despite the advancement of human rights and the intensity of campaigns to improve the quality of life for all, society does not want to place any priority on people using drugs. We prefer to take the easiest course of action. We prosecute them, we lock them up in filthy small cells, and we throw away the keys in the hope that drug-users would stay there forever. We prefer such cruel acts so they would not resurface in society and tarnish our respectability. We prefer abusing their rights so that they don’t embarrass us.
Such is the hypocrisy of our society, where fashionable human rights causes are prioritised and drug-users are left in isolation, devoid of life and left to die in their misery, alone.
One day, surely, because of our infectious prejudice, we shall be made vulnerable and swept under the rug by our own monstrous stigma.