Types of stigma
There are several kinds of stigma that cause negative attitudes, stereotypes, shame, and fear toward people with addiction.
The biggest killer out there is stigma. Stigma keeps people in the shadows. Stigma keeps people from coming forward and asking for help. Stigma keeps families from admitting that there is a problem.
Accepting and internalizing negative stereotypes about oneself.
“I had to accept my diagnosis and follow my treatment plan to get better just like any illness. I am not morally flawed, nor am I stupid or self-destructive.”Rodolfo Milan
Negative attitudes and fears that isolate those with addiction.
“The stigma that surrounds SUD is shattering. We 'addicts' as society calls us, carry enough guilt and shame for our use and the pain its caused.”Anne Emerson
Stigma Against Medication
Belief that medications “trade one addiction for another”.
“A lot of people don't consider someone sober if they are on [medications], but I am more productive, kinder, more hardworking, and much more attentive…Different things work for different people.”Emily Brockway
Excluding those with addiction from opportunities and resources.
“There are many barriers to treatment and most of the domestic violence survivors I know cannot access recovery resources that are helpful or supportive.”Audrey Comber
When we omit the truth, who wins?
My brother didn’t have to die. We have to help people understand that addiction is a disease.
How stigma affects the opioid crisis
Negative attitudes about people with addiction directly affects their ability to find help and recover.
How you can help
Here are some things you can do to make a difference for those struggling with addiction — and their families.