Welcome to our latest issue!
‘The situation requires a real shake-up in the way we engage’
‘We begin to categorise and stigmatise without even realising it,’ said a speaker at the recent ‘Hit Hot Topics’. Throughout the event we heard how ‘language can become perception’ and be very alienating. We also heard about people who inject drugs ‘being called transmitters and tracked like salmon’ and feeling ‘dehumanised’.
But we were also reminded of our responsibilities in actively challenging stigma and overturning myth. Public perception – relating to supervised injection facilities for instance – was found to be based on a lack of knowledge. Within the sector we have a wealth of expertise to address this.
In this issue, Natalie Davies examines the argument for consumption rooms in detail; Catherine Larkin and Danny Hames take stock of the value of a naloxone strategy; Tony Margetts evaluates the progress of prison reform; Lizzie McCulloch looks at a new approach to cannabis policy and treatment; and two of the major treatment charities explain how they are tuned to the challenges ahead.
In a climate of fear, information-sharing is our weapon to keep options open and steer policy towards life-saving gains. As Stephen Malloy says, ‘For the person whose life depends on it, the situation could not be more crucial and requires a fundamental shake-up in the way we view and engage people who use drugs, those receiving OST medicines, service users and patients.’
We’ll be challenging stigma and indifference at our tenth anniversary service user involvement conference, ‘One Life’ – hope to see you in Birmingham on 23 February!
Claire Brown, editor
Keep in touch at @DDNmagazine