Mainline Lady is a glossy, 31-page Dutch magazine
aimed at female drug addicts.
Shauna the featured fashion model, is a tattooed former user. There are tips on how to moisturize junkie dry skin. Cocaine and heroin addict Winjie gets a lift via face and hair makeover. The horoscope section tells Gemini: “At last you’ll manage to put on a little weight.” And for Cancer: “Your dope will taste better than usual.” There are cartoons pertaining to “condom washday”. There are junkies talking about prostitution, HIV positive ex-con’s talking about their prison experiences and pictures of addicts as young girls, their adult selves looking back to a time before the scars, wishing things had worked out differently.
Editor in Chief Jasperine Schupp says the magazine hopes to convey that “Female users are not just skinny hags. They have lots of interests and that’s what we wanted to reflect.”
5000 free pilot copies were distributed in the Netherlands in July 2001, with new issues expected, depending on the reception. It was put out by The Mainline Foundation, a ten-year-old organization that aims to improve the health and lives of drug users by stressing harm reduction. The foundation noticed that the informational leaflets, which contained valuable information about using drugs as safely as possible, were not being read. Mainline wanted to inform users about the dangers of HIV and AIDS, and needed a better way to present the material. “If you want to sell your message you’ve got to package it right”, notes Schupp.
Schupp candidly admits that getting people to stop using drugs is not the Foundations main priority. There are plenty of other organizations focused on stopping the addict, and preventing the addiction. Instead of smarmy finger wagging, Mainline Lady gets straight to the point that there will probably always be users, and that those people need representation, facts and safety tips. “We treat people like adults, offering them information so they can make healthy choices.”