"Little progress has been made in removing the stigma around substance use disorders," Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) wrote in a recent blog post. "People with addiction continue to be blamed for their disease. Even though medicine long ago reached a consensus that addiction is a complex brain disorder with behavioral components, the public and even many in healthcare and the justice system continue to view it as a result of moral weakness and flawed character."
The damage done by stigma is well-known among professionals in the drug and alcohol field. As Volkow points out, stigma can prevent someone from seeking treatment for themselves or a loved one. What's more, when health care providers stigmatize people suffering from substance use disorder, they may be less likely to provide the treatment that is needed.
84 SOS Berks, we have been working to fight stigma in Berks County with our "Addiction Doesn't Define Me" campaign, featuring video testimonials from people in recovery. We know that addiction is a disorder that is treatable, and that people do recover. And we also know that addiction can affect anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, location, or socio-economic status. We encourage you to view the testimonials from our stigma campaign and hear directly from individuals and family members who were impacted by stigma.