Why language matters


Language matters is a resource created by the Network of Alcohol & other Drugs Agencies (NADA) and the NSW Users & AIDS Association (NUAA) and is available online.

Developed for the non-government alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sector, the resource encourages workers to move away from out-dated terms like 'drug user' and 'addict' which stigmatise people who use drugs.

Language is powerful – especially when discussing AOD and the people who use them. The resource was developed in consultation with non-government AOD workers and people who use drugs. 

Larry Pierce, chief executive of NADA, says: "We know that fear of stigma and being labelled as a 'drug addict' can and does stop people from accessing treatment and support. It's time we start being more mindful and stop using these terms."

NADA is the peak organisation for the non-government alcohol and other drugs sector in NSW. NUAA is governed, staffed and led by people with lived experience of drug use.

Mary Ellen Harrod, chief executive of NUAA, concludes: "The Language matters resource will be a useful tool. Empowering people by treating them with respect is a powerful catalyst for change".


Read and download Language matters.

Want to learn more about some of the most commonly used drugs affecting Australians right now? Check out the A-Z of Drugs.

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