In YoDAA’s experience, youth AOD workers and Youth workers don’t generally use the word “addict” when referring to anyone with an AOD related problem.

But that doesn’t mean family members or young people  don’t sometimes refer to someone or themselves with a drug related problem as an addict. Should you be challenging the use of this term?

We recommend listening to this discussion between  Kenneth Anderson, from HAMS, Harm Reduction for Alcohol Network and Meghan Rolston from Drug Policy Alliance.

Although this discussion largely refers to the US context where the term “addict” is used much more widely, it still has relevance to the Australian context.

In the discussion, Meghan Rolston explains that the term is fraught with baggage and its use is contrary to an approach that puts the person first rather than a label (that often sticks for life).

We hope this conversation gives you some ideas about how you might encourage young people or concerned family members to use more useful and appropriate language when describing a young person struggling with drug related issues. In the same vain, remember to also checkout YoDAA’s info for Families and Young people to help you in your work with these audiences.