Discrimination due to substance use and abuse

Discrimination due to substance use and abuse refers to stigma-driven discriminatory behaviour displayed as a result of a child’s experience of a substance use disorder (SUD) or their survival of substance abuse. Individuals with SUDs and substance abuse survivors are at a markedly elevated risk of involvement in the criminal justice system, and young people are often victimised as a result of their experiences, as opposed to receiving the necessary medical and social support. This poses greater risks, as substance use can be a precursor to behaviours like repeated offending.

As such, the child justice system must increase its focus on diversionary rehabilitation programmes and restorative justice approaches that truly address the physiological, psychological, and emotional needs of young people who have had experience with SUDs.

Disclaimer: Authors are the Global Initiative on Justice with Children with pro-bono support from Baker McKenzie. This section represents one among other positions of some members of the World Congress Consortium and does not necessarily represent the view of all institutions and members  involved.