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How the drug user became a “junkie”

Oct 18, 2019

“Points” is a blog that focuses on the history of alcohol and drugs in society.  They have recently published a fascinating article titled “How the drug user became a junkie.”  The article focuses on the origins of the pejorative term “junkie”. William Burroughs wrote the novel “Junkie” in 1953, however the term had been in use prior to this. Norma Lee Browning, who was a journalist with the Chicago Daily Tribune had written an article in 1949 describing a middle-aged housewife who had gone from a “pretty woman” to “an old time incurable junkie.”  The use of the term here indicates that it was in common usage by this stage. The term “junkie” continues to be used, particularly in modern media reporting, despite it being a clearly offensive term. This shows that we still have a long way in reducing stigma associated with alcohol and other drug use.

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