Chat Room For Druggies or Realistic Harm Reduction?

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A new drug-related social media site has recently appeared on the scene, starting a debate about the morality of allowing users to openly discuss illegal drug use online.

The site TripSit claims to "break the taboos associated with drug use and provide people with the resources they need in order to stay safe." The idea of giving citizens the ability to limit unsafe drug use through shared information is nice, but there's no way of knowing how this will affect the public, especially children. 

Part of a Larger Network

The website has some powerful friends: TripSit has made partnerships with two of the Internet's most popular sites, Wikipedia and Reddit. Wikipedia helps provide users with drug facts and information, and Reddit is where users can interact and talk about drug experiences.

The site offers a 24/7 help line, with volunteers standing by to provide quick information or a "friendly guide through a difficult experience." But what are the moral implications of having a chat line for "drug-talk?" Is it encouraging drug use, or is it simply helping to make the inevitable occurrence of drug use safer?

Media Backlash

Not surprisingly, TripSit is already experiencing a media backlash and has issued a press release regarding the site's goals and ideology. In response to being called a "social network for drug users," the website said:

We do not encourage the irresponsible abuse of drugs or mixing of drugs. On the contrary; users who join our network are already intent on taking drugs, and we provide services to keep them safe ... Due to the stigmatization of drug users in general, many people are hesitant to seek medical advice when it may be needed. Many users do not have a solid support structure of friends and family or access to adequate medical services. In some cases, TripSit is the only resource our users have to turn to for advice, support, and positivity.

Is this a fresh, realistic approach to a growing problem? Or is it just capitalizing on society's addiction to drugs?

Recommended reading: Harm Reduction

This article analyzes the idea that "people always have and always will use drugs," and its strategy of "harm reduction" attempts to "minimize the potential hazards associated with drug use rather than the use itself."

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