Victoria – February 7-14 is anti-stigma week in Greater Victoria, and this year’s theme is “Drug Use, Dignity and Human Rights.” To support of the week, AIDS Vancouver Island has issued a statement in support of the “Nice People Take Drugs” campaign from the UK.
“We are inspired by the work being done locally and internationally to reduce the stigma around illegal drug use. Drug use permeates our society, and stigmatizing people who struggle with problematic substance use has only served to marginalize those most in need of dignity, compassion, and health services.
Almost half of people in BC (48.6%) report having used illegal drugs in their lifetime, according to Health Canada’s 2009 Canadian Alcohol and Drug Using Survey. Of these, 47.5% reported having used cannabis, and 20.4% reported having used cocaine/crack, speed, ecstasy, hallucinogens, and/or heroin.
This is why we’ve decided to support the statement ‘nice people take drugs’ – drug users are part of our community. They are our neighbours, sisters, brothers, parents, co-workers, and friends and engage in drug use for a variety of reasons. Some will have experimented with drugs with little apparent consequence; some will continue to use them on occasions; some will struggle with problematic use.
The “Nice People Take Drugs” campaign was started in the United Kingdom by Release, the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law. In 2009, Release’s adverts, which were placed on buses in London, were pulled by the bus company, drawing world-wide attention for the campaign.
Whether people would like to see an end to prohibition, shifts in international drug policy, or more of a focus on public health – it is important to create spaces in which we can talk about drug use in our community. The current stigma around drug use only serves to shut down discussion and make sensible debate around these issues impossible.
We believe it is possible to transform our community into one where drug use has fewer harmful effects on our community.”
Anti-stigma week is running from February 7-14, 2011. Participants include: The Beddow Centre, the Committee to End Homelessness in Victoria, Harm Reduction Victoria (HRV), PEERS, Society of Living Intravenous Drug Users (SOLID), UVSS Harm Less Club, Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group ( VIPIRG), and the Victoria Coalition Against Poverty (VCAP), Faith in Action, Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia (CARBC), and Our Place. Events are listed at www.harmreductionvictoria.ca.
For more information:
Manager of Communications, AVI
250-384-2366 ext 2268
Executive Director, AVI
250-384-2366 ext 2269