Mutual respect

An important underpinning peer support issue is related to the respect of individuals’ lifestyles, personal choices and experiences, their illegal activities and their vulnerability.  Every initiative has to acknowledge these aspects of vulnerability and has to operate non-judgementally, delicately and respectfully.  Everyone needs to be treated  respectfully and with dignity.  In particular, the identity of, and information about an individual must be treated with greatest sense of confidentiality and privacy.

“Revealing identity and personal information can have unpleasant, inconvenient, and even disastrous consequences. The present social and legal climate makes illicit drug use, and especially injecting, a highly fraught activity. We have a moral responsibility to conduct our activities in a way that avoids these consequences. We also have a moral responsibility to protect the confidential information we may acquire about people not just from authorities, but from other users as well.”

Annie Madden in AIVL booklet ‘A framework for peer education by drug-user organisations’