The words we use can create stigma and discrimination, lets start thinking about what we say.

When you work with young people who use substances you become attuned to the language they use, but have you ever stopped to listen to the language you and those around you use? The words we use, the words the media uses and those not in the AoD sector use to describe and discuss those who use substances can impact the cohort creating stigma and discrimination.

The Global Drug Commission released a report finding that if we are to see a change in perception of those who use substances, there needs to be a conscious effort in changing the language that is used.

Those of us in the sector may be making unconscious mistakes when discussing our young people and their substance use. Becoming aware of the words we use when discussing our young people with others in the sector as well as with other supportive and important adults in their lives is an important step impacting their journeys.

More than others AoD workers are aware that for some substance use can change from not problematic use to dependence very quickly and can have rippling effects on an individual’s life. Ensuring that these people are treated with respect and have non-judgemental spaces in which they can access treatment are just a few of the ways in which we can help change the perception for those who use substances.

The great work of those at AoD Media Watch is a shining example of AoD workers holding journalist accountable for what they print and the language that they are using.