Less than human: how can we increase support for evidence based policy for people who use drugs

Liverpool, United Kingdom,

People who use drugs (PWUD) such as heroin and crack cocaine are some of the most stigmatised groups in society, and are subject to more negative public attitudes and discrimination than other groups who are labelled by their experiences and conditions such as mental ill health, smoking, or obesity. Public stigma is associated with reduced health and social care uptake, poorer quality of care and outcomes, and reduced public support for supportive policies and services. As the UK is currently experiencing record levels of drug related deaths it is important to address stigma.

This talk will provide an overview of a recent programme of research undertaken by Harry and colleagues, that has investigated the ways in which PWUD are stigmatised and how this could be reversed. There will be a particular focus on how we can ‘rehumanise’ otherwise dehumanised people with complex needs. Although the focus is on PWUD, the talk will also be of relevant for those who work or do research with other stigmatised groups.

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