Itchy Fingers: Drug User Information on the Web
The internet is a font of amazing knowledge that was made for drug users. It’s a discreet world where information can be accessed anonymously, on any topic, at any time, much of it for free. The info is available instantly and saves forests of paper.
You don’t even need to own a computer or have a web account. You can access the net for free at your local public library, or for around $2 for two hours’ use at dozens of cafés and shopping centres. Many community centres and public libraries hold free courses on how to get online and how to perform information searches using “engines” or directories like Google, MSN's Bing and Yahoo. Google Scholar lists research articles from academic journals.
There is a wealth of information for users. Find out what’s happening with drug law reform, medical cannabis, HIV rates for injecting users, symptoms and treatment for diabetes or menopause, overdose prevention, if driving on methadone is a DUI offence, whether you can take physeptone into Brazil or drugs out of Afghanistan.
You can also join online communities to get support and share information and experiences. Connect with other users, persons with HIV, hep C or living with pain, mums, carers, or trans-gender people. You don’t need to be alone. You can even use an alias.
A word of warning: there is a lot of good information and on-the-level people on the web, but there are plenty of crackpots and anti-drug crusaders too. Stay alert – be questioning, skeptical, even cynical. Cross-check what you discover – suss out the authors’ qualifications, conflicts of interest and their angles or bias. Wikipedia entries can be useful, but remember that anyone can edit them. As at 2012, the “harm reduction” entry is particularly dodgy. Anyone can have a website and all information is treated equally by search engines.
The sites listed here are just the beginning. Each site has plenty of links to other sites, so you can start here and go wherever you want them to take you.
You deserve to be highly informed and well connected and to have a voice in this digital community. So indulge those itchy fingers and join the World Wide Web. See you online!