WHY WE SHOULD SAY SOMEONE IS A ‘PERSON WITH AN ADDICTION,’ NOT AN ADDICT
“For years, people with addiction have wondered when the media would recognize our condition as a medical problem, not a moral one — when they would stop reducing us to mere “addicts” and speak of us in the more respectful and accurate “person first” language that has become common for people with other diseases and disorders.
Last week, The Associated Press took an important step in that direction. The new edition of its widely used AP Stylebook declares that “addict” should no longer be used as a noun. “Instead,” it says, “choose phrasing like he was addicted, people with heroin addiction or he used drugs.” In short, separate the person from the disease.
The style guide clarifies other important language to maximize precision and reduce bias in addiction coverage. There are new entries on “alcoholic” and on an array of substances, from bath salts and cocaine to PCP and synthetic cannabis.”