These are my people....

Please see footnote at end of post for photo details
Most of the work I currently do is related to street-dwelling drug users. As a former street-dwelling drug user (I no longer live on the streets), I have an added empathy for this population. I am aware of this "bias" and I am also aware that my story is not their story. Each person has their own story, and this community is not homogeneous, but there are certainly some generalisations one can make. However, most of the time we have these generalisations wrong. Each time I am fortunate enough to spend some time with street-dwelling drug users, I am reminded of how wrong many of the genrealisations are. This is my final facebook post for 2015, that expresses some of my frustration around this:

It was a fitting end to 2015: Central Cape Town doing needle exchange and chatting to service users - the people I choose to serve and learn from. Please don't ever tell me "these people" are:
1. In denial
2. Are not resourceful
3. Don't care
4. Are powerless
5. Should just stop using drugs (and then everything will be OK)
6. Cannot make a contribution

The truth is:
1. They fully understand the implications of drug use, what drives their use, what would help them use more safely or cut down their use. But they are seldom consulted on it.*(see footnote)