Drug addicts fear 'life sentence' of stigma

FEAR of a life sentence of stigma has been identified as one of the major reasons preventing heroin and cocaine addicts from recovering and rejoining society.

The government must tackle the "extreme prejudice" against drug users if it is to get addicts off benefits, back into work and playing a full role in society, according to a UK Drug Policy Commission report published yesterday.

The study, which found Britons need to show more compassion if the barriers to rehabilitation are to be overcome, comes as the Home Office signals a greater emphasis on abstinence and encouraging users to become completely free of drugs.

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Report author Charlie Lloyd, a lecturer at York University, said: "Use of heroin and crack, in particular, can be seen to come with a 'stigma life sentence' which is a crucial barrier to recovery and rejoining society."

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