Stop the Stigma: 5 things we can do

Stop the Stigma: 5 things we can do



Stigma destroys people, families and futures.

Stop the Stigma is a new Citywide Campaign. It aims to break down stigma, to shift attitudes and to move towards a situation where people who use drugs are treated with respect and dignity. There are 5 simple things we can do:

1. Start by changing our language.

We can stop using the offensive word “junkie”. We can then begin to name check the other words that are used, often without even thinking, to label, reject and put down people who use drugs.

2. Challenge stigma in the delivery of services.

We can develop education and training programmes in collaboration with health care and frontline staff to challenge the stigma that people who use drugs can experience in public services.

3. Support stronger and better-resourced community drug programmes.

We can provide well-resourced Community Drug Projects and services to support people who use drugs, their families and communities.

4. Understand more about the complexity of addiction.

We can encourage and support political leadership on this issue to ensure that public conversation is informed by greater knowledge and understanding of addiction, dependency and recovery - so that fear and blame of people who use drugs is reduced.

5. End the criminalisation of people who use drugs.

We can view and treat addiction as a health issue not a crime. We can provide evidence to inform the Working Group on Alternative Approaches so that it can implement the recommendation of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality to deal with possession of drugs for personal use through a harm-reducing and rehabilitative approach.