See the person. Not the addiction.
You went into the law enforcement or medical field because you wanted to help others.
Right now, there are people who need your help more than ever - those struggling with substance use.
By reassuring them that people do care about them and they deserve respect, you can help reduce the stigma surrounding addiction. You can help change the narrative around how individuals with substance use disorders see themselves and how they’re seen by others. You also help set an example for your peers.
Stigma not only impacts people with substance use disorders when they're actively using substances - it can also be especially debilitating to an individual's desire or ability to access help. Research has shown:
- Substance use is especially stigmatizing as it is commonly viewed as an issue associated with a lack of self-control and low moral character.1
- Stigma is a major factor preventing individuals from seeking and completing addiction treatment.2
- When a person with substance use disorder has internalized the negative stigma of the disease, it directly damages that person's chances of recovery.3
When we offer compassion and understanding to those who are struggling, we can help them get the help that they want - and deserve.
It starts with us.
1 Corrigan PW, Watson AC, Miller FE (2006). Blame, shame, and contamination: The impact of mental illness and drug dependence stigma on family members. Journal of Family Psychology. 20:239-246.
2Luoma J.B., Twohig, M.P., et. al (2007). An investigation of stigma in individuals receiving treatment for substance abuse. Addictive Behaviors, 32(7), 1331-1346.
3Broyles LM, et al. (2014). "Confronting Inadvertent Stigma and Pejorative Language in Addiction Scholarship: A Recognition and Response." Substance Abuse Journal.