National campaign launches to tackle stigma of addiction

A national campaign is being launched in Scotland today, highlighting the damage caused by the stigma of problem drug and alcohol use.

Television and newspaper adverts and billboards will emphasise that drug and alcohol problems are health conditions and judging individuals affected can have a devastating effect on their ability to seek and access help and support.

A webpage on NHS Inform will support the campaign with further information on how the public can help tackle the problem.

a woman rests her head on another person's shoulder

Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance said: ‘This is a hard-hitting national campaign which encourages people to see the personal story behind the stereotype. Stigma is damaging not only to the individual in terms of their mental health and sense of self-worth but it also discourages them from coming forward to get the help they need. It also impacts on friends and family members.

‘We must remember that people with a substance use problem are family members, neighbours, friends and colleagues. By addressing stigma, and the silence and alienation it causes, we make it easier for people to seek help and that is to the benefit of each and every one of us.’

Public Health Minister Maree Todd added: ‘We want to make it easy for people to ask for help. We know that passing judgment on people who are looking for help and support can harm their recovery. When people are seeking help with alcohol and drugs, kindness and compassion saves lives.’

In related news, a new winter campaign to help rough sleepers and those at risk of becoming homeless has been launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Birmingham City Council.

The campaign asks West Midlands residents to look out for people in their areas who might be sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness so they can be connected to local support services.

Photo by Külli Kittus


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