Anyone can become dependent on drugs and struggle with addiction.

Family, friends and the public often have negative feelings about drug use or behavior. Addiction is not a moral failing and we need to remember that we can all change the conversation and decrease the stigma around drug use and addiction. People with a substance use disorder have a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully treated, but stigma negatively impacts a person’s willingness to get treatment or health care and can cause significant self-esteem and mental health issue.

No one likes to feel judged or devalued. We must reduce the stigma to encourage people to ask for help and recovery.

  • Offer compassionate support.
  • Display kindness to people in vulnerable situations.
  • Listen while withholding judgment.
  • See a person for who they are, not what drugs they use.
  • Learn about how drug dependency works.
  • Treat people with drug dependency with dignity and respect.
  • Avoid hurtful labels.
  • Replace negative attitudes with evidence-based facts.
  • Speak up when you see someone mistreated because of their drug use.

Resources

ImageTitleDescriptionFile TypeLink
A Discussion of Stigma – VideoA Discussion of Stigma as it Affects Those with Opioid Use Disorder. Interviews with multiple people about their experience with stigma surrounding opioid use.
An Interview with Dr. Snehal BhattDr. Bhatt is one of New Mexico's most well-respected experts in the field of Addiction Psychiatry. His approach is both scientific and human centered.
Stop the Stigma VideoShort ~80 second video detailing the Stop the Stigma campaign, featuring the "Addiction is not a moral failing" slogan.
Stop the Stigma Video – SpanishSpanish Language Short ~80 second video detailing the Stop the Stigma campaign. Abandonen el stigma.