The UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) has today published a report entitled Sinning and sinned against: the stigmatisation of problem drug users by Charlie Lloyd of the University of York. The report summarises the research evidence on the stigmatisation of problem drug users and explores its impact on individuals and wider society.
Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of DrugScope, welcomed the report’s publication:
“This timely and insightful study demonstrates the extent and nature of the stigma faced by people who experience drug problems, who remain among the most vilified groups in society.
“Last week, the government launched the drug strategy consultation and in a question on barriers to employment, asked whether employers should be encouraged to ‘look beyond stigma’. The paper also asks whether the benefits system should be used punitively against people who fail to engage with treatment.
“We believe that stigma is a key issue in this debate. DrugScope argues that the potential removal of benefit from people with a drug or alcohol dependency, while failing to tackle the attitudes of providers of key services such as housing and training as well as employers, is asking them to push against a closed door; it risks pushing people still further into poverty and social exclusion. Today’s report evidences stigma as a barrier to recovery and reintegration. We hope the government are ready to engage with this issue in a meaningful way.”