A call to engage

Action on Addiction’s chief executive Graham Beech introduces a new Addiction Awareness Week on 10-16 June.

Where did the idea come from?
Everyone knows the problems associated with addiction are growing and becoming increasingly complex. At the same time, society’s capacity to deal with these issues is diminishing. People are finding it increasingly difficult to access the treatment they need and are facing sizeable barriers linked to stigma.

We’re hoping Addiction Awareness Week will play a key role in raising awareness of the far-reaching negative effects of addiction and providing a platform for focused conversations about the wide-ranging benefits of community-led recovery. We’re also looking to share inspirational stories so that people feel inspired to seek the help they need, and more is done to help them achieve a rewarding and stable life in recovery.

What will happen?
The week is a great opportunity to put the spotlight on addiction and for people to connect and to challenge stigma and discrimination. The conversations which will take place, in Westminster and Whitehall, in cafés and bars, and around people’s kitchen tables, will help bring addiction out of the shadows and in front of the public eye.

In addition to organising our own events throughout the week, we’ll be working with charities and other organisations who have timetabled their own initiatives and social media activity. The idea is that by working together during a week focused on addiction, we’ll be able to cut through the news agenda and engage many different audiences.

Action on Addiction's treatment centre - Clouds House
Action on Addiction’s treatment centre – Clouds House

How will it support other initiatives?
There are already a number of fantastic campaigns and initiatives that challenge stigma and increase knowledge about addiction, in many of which Action on Addiction participates. An awareness week that focuses on the subject and becomes an annual event should add significant weight to these activities. Substantial headway has been made in recent years on raising awareness of issues associated with mental health, and we’re hoping for a similar shift in relation to addiction.

Changing hearts and minds can never be achieved through one campaign in isolation, it always requires a groundswell of activity from multiple organisations who are able to engage clients and service users, ambassadors, donors, and high-profile supporters.

How do people get involved?
We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response throughout the sector. The week is also being supported by those operating in related services and arts organisations, from MPs, policy professionals and in the media. We’d love people to share their stories throughout the week on social media and via their own communications channels. Our email address is: hello@addictionawarenessweek.org.uk

For more information visit www.addictionawarenessweek.org.uk

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