Monday 16 December 2019

Your headline went too far

Sir -- I was saddened and even a little sickened when I opened my paper after Mass last Sunday to read the headline "Move junkies out to the suburbs -- mayor", (Sunday Independent, September 26, 2010).

We all know that in this electronic age it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell newspapers, but is it really necessary to use the derogatory term "junkie" to describe the thousands of people in treatment for opiate addiction?

Yes, certainly there are difficulties with the alcohol and drug using part of our society in the centre city.

Some of them attend large city centre drug treatment facilities.

Many, however, are not in treatment for their self-destructive attachment to drink or drugs because even if they wanted it, it is not available.

Waiting lists at most city centre facilities are long. Many areas of the country and even of Dublin have little or no access to treatment.

Most people who have problems with drink or drugs want to get better.

A majority of those who attend drug treatment clinics are making a genuine attempt to change their lives. Their self-esteem is already low. They don't need to see themselves described as "junkies" in the headline of a Sunday newspaper.

Almost every family in Ireland has suffered the consequences of substance misuse and addiction.

Does the person who wrote that headline care even a tiny bit about the feelings not only of the addicts who attend treatment centres but also of their families, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, children? Do they feel they are improving our society through their journalistic activities by further stigmatising this group?

Cathal Ó Súillibháin,

Blackrock, Co Dublin

Sunday Independent

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