Discover what CAREaz is doing to End Stigma
What is Stigma?
Stigma is discrimination and can exist against any group of people. Stigma regarding people with substance use disorder (SUD) is when inaccurate thoughts and assumptions are made about a person with SUD. Some assumptions that are made about individuals with SUD include: they are dangerous, dishonest, incapable of recovering, or that they are at fault for their condition.
Where does stigma come from?
Stigma about addiction comes from old ideas that are no longer accurate. It also comes from fear of things that are different or misunderstood. Today, we know that addiction is a chronic, treatable, medical condition and that people can recover and be healthy.
How does stigma affect people with SUD?
People who feel stigmatized are less willing to seek treatment for fear of being judged or not accepted. The stereotypes around addiction can make others feel fear, pity, and even anger.
How can I help end stigma?
We can start making a change with the words we use:
- When talking to or about people with SUD, be sure to use words that do not stigmatize.
- Use person-first language. Focus on the person, not their illness. View Words Matter for more information on person-first language.
- Let people choose how they are described. If you are not sure which word to use-- just ask!
Click for Resources for Providers
To End the Drug Crisis, Bring Addiction Out of the Shadows
Punishing Addiction Heightens Stigma