Here are some things you can do to reduce prejudice and discrimination against people who have substance use problems:
1. Know the facts
Educate yourself about substance use problems – what can bring them on, who is more likely to develop problems, and how to prevent or reduce the severity.
Learn the facts instead of the myths. A good resource is available at the Department of Health and Ageing website http://www.drugs.health.gov.au.
2. Be aware of your attitudes and behaviour
It’s normal that people grow up with some prejudices. It’s possible to change the way we think, and avoid seeing people as stereotypes.
3. Choose your words carefully
The way we speak shapes the way others think and speak also. Be accurate and sensitive when talking about people with substance use problems.
4. Focus on the positive
People with substance use problems can still make valuable contributions to society – most in fact do. Their health problems are just one part of who they are.
5. Support people
Think about how you’d like others to act toward you if you were in the same situation. If you have family members, friends or co-workers with substance use problems, support and encourage their efforts to get well.