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Alleviating the stigma of addiction

19 Nov 2020


Addiction is one of the most stigmatised of all health conditions. There is a mistaken belief that addiction is the result of weak character and poor choices, however science has clearly shown it to be a disorder arising from alterations in brain circuitry.

General Manager of Drug and Alcohol Services, Gael Rao explains, “The accompanying shame and stigma can result in people avoiding health services even when they might need or want help and as a consequence many Australians and their families suffer in silence."

Alleviating stigma is not easy. Ms Rao emphasises that in the health care setting, “treating patients with dignity and compassion is the first step.”

Additionally, Ms Rao says the strain of the past year may have impacts for people who struggle with addiction. Isolation and stress can be a worrying combination for those who suffer from substance abuse.

Ms Rao advises that Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District’s Drug and Alcohol services have remained open throughout this year with their staff available to provide care and support when it’s needed most.

“Our service is inclusive and culturally responsive to client needs. We understand the effects of stress and isolation and our specialised and experienced team can provide you with free, non-judgemental and confidential advice.”

People can self-refer or be referred by families, friends, GPs, medical and nursing staff or other service providers.

NBMLHD Drug and Alcohol services are available in Lithgow, Katoomba, Springwood, Penrith, Cranebrook and St Marys.

More information about accessing our services, including details on locations and assessments or call our Central Intake Line: 1300 661 050 (Monday to Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm).