It has been incredible to see a diverse group of people and organizations pool their skills and resources to mount Anti-Stigma Week, with activities that all have one goal – enhancing individual and community health and well-being by transforming stigma around drug use.
This year’s Anti-Stigma Week theme is Drug Use, Dignity and Human Rights. Drug use, and especially illicit drug use, is associated with high degrees of stigma that hurt individuals’ health and access to health care and reduce community cohesion.
Stigma is a societal process that marks people as outsiders. Those who are different -because of their behaviours or identities -are subject to disapproval and marginalization.
They aren’t seen as people, as someone’s daughter or father, neighbours with their own stories and failings and hopes. This prejudice makes it easier for active discrimination to take hold, or to leave individuals fearing that others think them less worthy. The way systems are organized and accepted societal attitudes reinforce these tendencies.