Does the title of this story need a rethink?

Hello, all!

It’s been mentioned to the editors that the title of this story is pretty stigmatizing of folks with substance use issues and might be worth a re-think. What do you all think?


My perspective on this may be overly reductive but when I think of victims of substance abuse being stigmatised its usually in the context that they are being described universally as derelicts, parasites, worthless and other such terms.

I’m open to learning and correction on this but I don’t think suggesting that someone behaving erratically and violently is likely to be on drugs is stigmatising although there are of course other explanations (entitlement, illness or general jack-assery being key examples). Did the person who suggested this explain their POV?

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I didn’t see anything wrong with the title, but i am willing to learn. Hopefully someone who does have an issue can explain why.

If you do decide a title change is required, might i suggest:

When Entitlement Has Gone Up To Eleven

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Hey all! I’m the one who emailed about this and it’s coming from several years of working in mental health and substance use treatment. Also for context, I tend to save up my visits and read at least a month worth of stories at a time, so I do a lot of kind of comparing (“oh, that reminds me of the same story like twelve pages ago” sort of a thing).

To me, this customer comes off as an entitled jerk, but not a ton more than the average customer in similar stories (and while I could see them being viewed as erratic, again, it doesn’t seem like a significant increase over similar situations). Saying that they’re acting that way because they’re using substances seemed a little arbitrary for one, but more so that it’s equating this behavior with substance use, rather than just some people being rude and saying that anyone who acts this way must be using substances.

In using non-stigmatizing language, we try to avoid terms that indicate the person IS a problem, as well as any terms that blame the person and associate the person with negative traits. If someone in active use read this, it could come off as “they would think I must be a jerk because I use substances,” which could make them less likely to share and seek help.

To be fair, I’m way more attuned to this kind of stuff than average, but I genuinely love that you all opened a dialogue about it! I hope my explanation was at least somewhat clarifying, and sorry I didn’t include more in my original message to the mods!

EDIT: I also love Stephen’s suggested alternate title!


That was a really useful clarification and helped me understand your point.

I can see how the suggestion that the customer is behaving poorly and therefore must be on drugs is reducing all victims of substance abuse to a common and negative stereotype. I suppose its obvious when its laid out in the way you’ve explained it but it genuinely wan’t something I’ve ever thought about in any real depth before and I apologise for any offence given. Thank you for the education.


I just appreciate folks being open to hearing my perspective! And I figured whoever wrote the title didn’t even realize it could come off that way. Like I said, it’s years of working in the field (and all the related education and training) that make me notice it and speak up, because we’ve learned how much making seemingly small changes in the way we speak can make really big differences!


I’ve found that the vast majority of people in the NAR community are open to correction and learning. There are the usual hold outs who insist that it is the burden of people who are offended to not be so easily affected rather than for people to change their language or perspective but they do really seem to be in the minority.


Given the site, I probably should have guessed that :smile:


Thank you so much for explaining.

So to answer @KillerTomato’s original question, I now think it probably is best to change it.


I don’t usually read the titles, but once I had a look at it I instantly realised that it had this issue. If there’s no drugs involved in the story then titling it with the implication that she’s on drugs carries the assumption that drugs make you act like a witch-with-a-b.


What’s the original title? I can’t seem to find it.
But a commenter said gave a perfect answer to what I surmise the story is about.

Commenter offered the title; “When entitlement goes up to eleven”, would make me read the story.

The title I can see is We Don’t Know What Drugs She’s On, But We’re Guessing All Of Them.

Thank you. I found it. Yes the title the one commenter suggested I mentioned would be what grabs me.

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