Connecting People to Services

The Words We Use Matter: Reducing Stigma through Language

By on October 12, 2016 in Substance Abuse Related Articles with 0 Comments

The stigma of addiction.  People who struggle with addiction face a wide range of stigmas.  A stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person or a group apart.  When people are labeled primarily because of their addiction, they are being negatively stereotyped.

Biased, hurtful words, attitudes and behavior represent prejudices against peo;e with substance use disorder, and often lead to their discrimination and exclusion.  Stigmas can also create physical and mental barriers for people with addiction to seek treatment.

Why does language matter?  Ending stigma benefits everyone.  The stigma of drug misuse keeps people from seeking treatment.  Words like “junkie,” “addict” and “druggie” can hurt, damaging self-image and standing in the way of recovery.  Addiction is not a choice.  It’s a chronic disease similar to diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis.

Read full article from Barnstable County Human Services Regional Substance Abuse Council: rsac-words-matter-factsheet-5-18-16-final


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