Negative portrayals in the media and politics are reinforcing the perception that drug use is \u2018immoral\u2019 and people who use drugs are a threat to society, says a new report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy. This in turn increases stigma and discrimination and means that people who use drugs are seen as \u2018sub-human, non-citizens, scapegoats for wider societal problems\u2019 and undeserving of the right to health. Most drug use worldwide is \u2018episodic\u2019 rather than problematic, says The world drug perception problem: countering prejudices about people who use drugs, and what should be factual discussions are \u2018frequently debated as moral ones\u2019. Policies and responses are often based on \u2018perceptions and passionate beliefs\u2019 rather than evidence, it says, with no medical condition \u2018more stigmatised\u2019 than addiction. \u2018Public opinion and media portrayals reinforce one another, and they contribute to and perpetuate the stigma associated with drugs and drug use,\u2019 says the document. \u2018Commonly encountered terms such as \u201cjunkie\u201d, \u201cdrug abuser\u201d and \u201ccrackhead\u201d are alienating, and designate people who use drugs as \u201cothers\u201d \u2013 morally flawed and inferior individuals.\u2019 When combined with the criminalisation of drug use, stigma and discrimination \u2018are directly related to the violation of the human rights of people who use drugs in many countries\u2019, it states. Policy makers should aim to change perceptions of drugs and people who use them by providing reliable and consistent information, the report urges, while \u2018opinion leaders\u2019 in the media should promote the use of non-stigmatising language. Healthcare professionals also need to be vocal in promoting harm reduction and evidence-based interventions, while law enforcement should \u2018stop acts of harassment based on negative perceptions of people who use drugs\u2019. \u2018\u201cAddiction\u201d remains extremely stigmatised in health care settings,\u2019 said former executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Michel Kazatchkine. \u2018Language matters. Research has shown that even trained mental health practitioners treat differently cases where patients are referred to as \u201csubstance abusers\u201d than those alluded to as \u201cpeople with a substance use problem\u2019\u201d. \u2018In Switzerland\u2019s direct democracy, drug policy reform promoting a health-centered approach focused on harm reduction and treatment has repeatedly triumphed at the ballot box,\u2019 said Global Commission chair and former Swiss president, Ruth Dreifuss. \u2018This is in large part because the public was well informed of the facts and positive outcomes.'