Call to end drug related stigma

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper has called on the Scottish Government to increase action to tackle drug-related stigma and to increase the availability of naloxone across rural parts of Scotland.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 9:44 am
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 9:49 am
A Parliamentary debate was held on Scotland’s National Mission to reduce drug related deaths
A Parliamentary debate was held on Scotland’s National Mission to reduce drug related deaths

Ms Harper spoke during a Parliamentary debate on Scotland’s National Mission to reduce drug-related deaths.

She said: “We need to reduce prejudice, discrimination and associated stigma.

"There persists the view among the public that people who use illicit and non-illicit substances that cause harm are just low-lives and criminals who do not deserve anyone’s help.

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“Attracting health workers into jobs in drug and alcohol services is also difficult and there is stigma associated with the health professionals in this specialty too.

“In my health career as a nurse, I have witnessed the negative consequences of using stigmatising language such as ‘addict’, ‘alcoholic’, ‘druggie’ and ‘junkie’, and that needs to change.

"I am pleased the Minister has asked to meet with me to discuss action to better address stigma, including my request to NHS Education Scotland, to create education modules.

“I also welcome the fact that, during the pandemic, families of those who use opiates have been supplied take-home naloxone kits to prevent overdose.

"However, concerns have been raised that this isn’t the case in many of our rural areas. I asked for consideration to be given to increase the number of naloxone kit distributing sites and increase training to be provided on their use.”