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The websites bring a clear and simple message to people struggling with their drug use: hope. There is hope for people whose drug use and addiction has got in the way of their relationships and other things important to them. There is hope for the family concerned about a loved-one’s problematic drug use.
This message is carried by people who have been there, who have travelled the road of addiction, and are working through their recovery. Their stories tell of the good times, when the drugs were fun, when everything was going great. They also speak of when the problems began and things went pear-shaped. They share their struggles in seeking help and their journeys through treatment and recovery.
These are important stories that add more than the important message that ‘treatment works’. As well as explaining about addiction treatment, the stories go a long way towards reducing the stigma of addiction by giving the problem a human face.
Too often media reports about drugs, gangs, violence and misery reinforce a very negative picture of people who use drugs. It is this stigmatisation that often makes people needing help fearful about asking for it. We should be ashamed of the barriers that have been put in front of those looking for help.
The websites were tested before being launched. We were really pleased to have very strong, positive feedback from our ‘target audience’. People who use drugs and people in recovery told us the stories were genuine, the messages were credible, and the websites were engaging. Visit them and see for yourself.
The work on the websites began in earnest in December last year, and we must acknowledge the Herculean efforts of a small bunch of people that made it possible to go live with them this month. First the web builders, Signify Ltd, who did the techie stuff, and Origin Design who got the look-and-feel perfect.
Then our advisers from across the wider alcohol and other drug sector who guided our work in the right direction, and the staff at the Drug Foundation who did the work.
An extra special thanks must go to a guy many in our sector know: Michael Bird – he was the one people were willing to trust their heartfelt stories to, and who knew the audience and how to make a resource speak to them. Michael certainly worked his magic.
Finally, we are indebted to the people who have shared their stories with New Zealand; it was a pretty brave thing to do.
NB Over 10 years the Drug Foundation has published 500 articles in the Matters of Substance magazine. Half of these stories are available here as webpages, and the rest are in PDF format only (download August 2010 copy 2.2 MB).
Please get in touch if you have difficulty accessing a story you want to read, via Contact us.