DDN May 2023 DDN May_2023 | Page 15



On the eve of its launch , the Anti-Stigma Network needs you to join the fight

The Anti-Stigma Network has been created by a group of organisations coming together with a shared mission : to improve understanding of the stigma and discrimination experienced by all people harmed by drug and alcohol use . We recognise that many organisations and individuals have done – and are doing – some amazing , impactive and creative work to address stigma . Our aim is to help coordinate and amplify this work , enabling us all to maximise our shared effort to end stigma .

The starting point for the network has been a steering


group made up of a diverse range of organisations to get the initiative off the ground . It ’ s an approach that will evolve over time , but our driving forces are lived experience and fundamental human rights . We have no political allegiance or prevailing agenda , other than an ambition for people affected by drug and alcohol use to be treated fairly , justly and with dignity . We ’ re using evidencebased approaches and we aim to make real-world change .
The network represents an open invitation to individuals , families , communities , educational institutions , charities , businesses and policymakers to
NAME stigma , and raise awareness of stigma and prejudice created by stigmatising language , depictions , policies and approaches .
CELEBRATE and share anti-stigma and inclusive practice .
UNDERSTAND and educate on the impact of stigma and how it creates barriers to health and happiness .
FIGHT stigma by coming together to share and amplify lived experience , highlighting the negative role of stigma and celebrating inclusive practice .
RATIONALISE the case for fairness and health equality .
PROTEST when we need to advocate for human rights and legal protection to address the harms of stigma , prejudice , and discrimination . come together to share , learn and create . The result will be a coalition of diverse approaches , philosophies and opinions – and we know this means that not everyone will agree with everyone else . We see this as a strength . Coming to the network with varied backgrounds we can draw on the differences in who we are , what we ’ ve experienced and how we think . We all have a role to play in educating ourselves and taking action .
We ’ re realistic about the scale of the task : negative and unfair beliefs are entrenched in our society and stigma is experienced at every level – largely unconsciously , but sometimes consciously . Either way , people harmed by drug and alcohol use – including families – are systematically dehumanised , marginalised and discriminated against . Lives are lost , people are shamed , society ’ s progress is limited . Collectively we can change this ; we can overturn the assumptions about ‘ someone like that ’.
All of us have a role to play – and we need you . We believe that a network of people and organisations with a shared aim to end stigma can make change , and the larger and more diverse our network is , the more value we share . All activities , events , information and ideas are co-created by the network ’ s members and we all benefit from each other ’ s skills , knowledge
There is anger from people affected about the lack of action – we talk , we hear from people , we showcase lived experience – and then what ?
and insight . There is anger from people affected about the lack of action – we talk , we hear from people , we showcase lived experience – and then what ? We want to harness this demand for change and reach the tipping point . The larger and more diverse our network becomes , the more value we share and the stronger we become .
To find out more and get involved , visit www . antistigmanetwork . org . uk
Members of the steering group are from Phoenix Futures , Build on Belief , Inclusion , NHS APA , Adfam , LJM University , Leeds Council , and DDN
Lived experience is vital to this project , and stigma will be a central theme of the DDN Conference on 13 July . Come along , meet the network and participate !