Drug Deaths Taskforce
At our first meeting of the Taskforce one of the members representing lived experience shared that one of the things we could do straightaway was to continue to challenge stigma for people who use drugs. We all know that stigma impacts on individuals and families and can make it difficult to take the step of accessing support. I was struck by how, in the face of the complexity of issues that the Taskforce is considering, there was a straightforward way we could make a start on raising awareness of stigma. Our Alcohol and Drugs Partnership had recently been briefed on the Dundee Drugs Commission Report and had seen the recommendation that the online leaflet ‘Language Matters’, developed by the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA) in Australia, is promoted at all opportunities across Dundee. Some of the suggested language in the leaflet includes using the term ‘substance use’ rather than ‘abuse or misuse’ and ‘person with a dependence on’ rather than ‘addict’ or ‘alcoholic’.
We took this recommendation up in Borders and have issued electronic versions of leaflet to: all every staff member who has access to NHS Borders email, all our community pharmacies, our local sports and leisure trust, Scottish Borders Council education department, social work, safer communities, homelessness team, domestic abuse services and our partners in the Violence Against Women Partnership and the Community Planning Partnership. We have also issued to local Citizen Advice Bureaux, police colleagues, courts and procurator fiscals, fire and rescue colleagues, advocacy service and ambulance.
Paper copies were also posted to a variety of services including libraries.
With all the communications we also included information about what services are available in the Borders.
We realise people are busy and emails don’t always get read so we are planning to follow this up by including information in key local publications including our NHS staff update and also by ensuring that we take paper copies to all of our ADP training and events and are reviewing our wider communications.
The link to the leaflet is as follows: https://nadaweb.azurewebsites.net/resources/language-matters/