Creating a Compassionate and Empowering Approach to Drug Abuse

Articles on Drug Abuse and the Anti Drug Theme

An article is a written composition in prose, forming an independent part of a publication as a newspaper or magazine. It may focus on a particular topic, or it can be an opinion piece.

The global drug day theme encourages treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy; providing voluntary, evidence-based services; offering alternatives to punishment and prioritising prevention.

Human Empowerment

Empowerment is a key principle of recovery-oriented and person-centred approaches to drug abuse. It involves treating people with respect and dignity; providing person-centred care; ensuring that they have a say in their own lives; prioritizing prevention and leading with compassion.

It also involves recognizing that societal norms, prejudices and discrimination hinder their ability to participate in society and the decisions that affect them. This may include addressing issues related to gender, religion or ethnicity or creating networks of support for women and other marginalized groups.

It can also mean encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their choices and actively thwarting attempts to deny them basic opportunities. It’s an approach often associated with feminism and humanism. It also includes developing a value-centered identity that prioritizes personal values rather than a stereotyped racial or gender categorization, which is a more dignified and empowering way to identify with oneself. It’s an approach that’s important in fighting drug abuse among children and young adults.

End Stigma and Discrimination

Stigma is a major barrier to drug abuse treatment. Stigma exists at three levels: structural (laws, policies, and institutions that discriminate against people with behavioral health conditions), public (negative stereotypes shared by others), and self (internalized negative stereotypes).

A stigma reduction strategy should address all of these levels. Stigma reduction strategies should include education on best practices and evidence, a focus on prevention, and the inclusion of people with lived experience as key partners in the campaign.

People with lived experience of mental illness, drug use and addiction should share their experiences in order to bring attention to the devastating impact that stigma has on people’s lives. They can share their stories with medical staff, journalists, school children and their peers. They can also help to train professionals to defuse stigmatizing language and actions. They can also participate in peer programs that provide support for people with drug use and mental illness, as well as their families.

Strengthen Prevention

Educating people about the dangers of drugs is key to reducing drug abuse. This includes educating youth about the risks of different substances and how each drug affects the body and mind. Prevention programs should be long-term and include booster sessions throughout a person’s lifetime, targeting parents, teachers, schools, and communities.

Putting people first means ending stigma and discrimination, strengthening prevention, and providing alternative services to incarceration. These programs should focus on addressing the root causes of drug abuse and addiction and emphasize rehabilitation, not punishment.

Putting people first also requires ensuring that prevention efforts are evidence-based and free of biased information or misinformation. The 2023 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking theme, “People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention,” aligns with this objective. It is time to move away from ideologically driven policies and toward ones based on facts and science.

Support. Don’t Punish

The International Day against Drug Abuse is an opportunity to raise awareness about the global drug scourge and the efforts being made to address it. This year’s theme, Better Knowledge for Better Care, highlights that drug abuse causes widespread harms and that governments are taking steps to address those harms by ensuring they have the necessary information and resources to prevent them.

Parliamentarians can join the worldwide movement to support drug policy reform by supporting the global advocacy campaign, SUPPORT. DON’T PUNISH. The campaign puts harm reduction on the political agenda by mobilising communities affected by the inhumane ‘war on drugs’ and their allies, opening dialogue with policy makers and generating public debate on the need for policies that prioritize human rights, health and wellbeing.

Parliamentarians can support the campaign by promoting or participating in actions taking place over this week, sharing the campaign’s key messages on social media and by adding the SUPPORT. DON’T PUNISH logo to their cover photo or profile picture on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit the campaign website.

Push to see more details

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *