Reducing the Stigma of Addiction

Article in John Hopkins Medicine

The opioid crisis in America has taken a staggering toll on individuals and communities, made worse by the pervasive stigma associated with addiction. Johns Hopkins Medicine underscores the urgent need for destigmatization, pointing out that addiction is not a moral failure but a treatable medical condition. They emphasize the importance of person-first language and evidence-based treatments, including FDA-approved medications that have been proven to save lives. 

Initiatives like those of Johns Hopkins are critical to turning the tide against the opioid crisis. Introducing vocabulary that respects the dignity of individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) is more than compassionate-it's a vital step towards integrating effective treatments into mainstream healthcare. 

Here are our key takeaways from the article:

  • Drug overdose deaths have significantly impacted U.S. life expectancy.
  • Stigmatization of addiction creates significant barriers to treatment access.
  • Addiction stigma within the healthcare field can compromise patient care quality.
  • Opioid use disorder is a chronic brain disease, not a character flaw.
  • Person-first language can significantly reduce addiction stigma.
  • Methadone, buprenorphine, and extended-release naltrexone cut overdose death risks by half.
  • Medication-based therapy for opioid use disorder is underutilized.
  • Comprehensive treatment can enable individuals to lead fulfilling lives.
  • There is a critical need to make life-saving medications for OUD more accessible.
  • Stigma reduction is a communal responsibility and integral to addressing the opioid crisis effectively.

Reducing the Stigma of Addiction

From John Hopkins Medicine

"There is an urgent need to combat stigma surrounding addiction. Recognizing the enormous challenge that stigma poses to our communities, including patients with substance use disorder, Johns Hopkins Medicine is committed to dismantling stigma within our health system as a key part of our strategy for tackling the addiction and overdose crisis."

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