Addaction redoubles commitment to tackling stigma We are determined to deal with the scourge that is stigma,\u2019 said Lord Carlile at Addaction\u2019s 50th birthday event at the House of Lords. New drugs minister Victoria Atkins (left), under secretary of state for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, said that stigma was an obstacle to recovery and gave her commitment to exploring options for protecting public health funding for drug and alcohol treatment. \u2018I got to the point where I accepted stigma \u2013 I was a drain on society,\u2019 said Les, an Addaction volunteer from Weston-super-Mare. \u2018I started to believe I was a thief and a junkie \u2013 I started to accept it in the end. People focus on failures \u2013 they don\u2019t focus on people who actually make it. Addaction has given me a purpose in life. We judge people for their behaviour and we don\u2019t look underneath. To judge them compounds the shame.\u2019 \u2018Going into the service building was when my stigma started,\u2019 said Hayley from Wigan, who had to let her ex-partner take custody of their young daughter because of her problem drinking. \u2018I felt judged going in, and this made me eventually drop out of the service. But then Addaction adapted to me and I had home visits. I\u2019ve been stigmatised at my daughter\u2019s school by staff and other parents, but Addaction made me a recovery champion and really helped me.\u2019 \u2018We want to confront stigma head-on and this means educating the public to increase empathy and understanding for those tackling drugs, alcohol and mental health issues,\u2019 said Addaction CEO Mike Dixon. \u2018By challenging stigma, we believe more people will come forward for support and more people will recover and reach their potential.\u2019 Winners help transform lives in recovery Harry Shapiro, DrugWise director (right), was among prize-winners of the Marsh Volunteer Awards, presented by Addaction and the Marsh Christian Trust. The awards recognise those who have helped transform the lives of people in recovery, and his prize for media recognised his articles, lectures and national media interviews representing the views of alcohol and drug users and challenging stigma. \u2018Harry is hugely knowledgeable and presents his information and evidence in a skilled non-judgemental way, acting as an advocate for service users and their family and friends,\u2019 said Jon Murray, Addaction\u2019s community engagement and implementations lead, who handed out the prizes to winners. The regional award winners are Tommy Allan, Joanne Taylor, Sue Peoples, Bryony Homewood and Carole Cliffe, and recovery award winners are Lynsey McKenzie, Leanne Gillon and Harry Shapiro.