Today in the United States we are facing a serious crisis: the addiction crisis. Thousands of people die each year from drug overdoses, and the number of people with a substance use disorder is increasing. To help fix the crisis we must address and combat the stigma of substance use disorders.
The stigma of substance use disorders is rooted in the belief that a substance use disorder is a personal decision reflecting a lack of responsibility or control. At a societal level, the stigma causes people to label and discriminate against those individuals with a substance use disorder in insurance benefits, employment, and housing.
Not only does stigma result in labeling, status loss, and discrimination but it also leads to delaying and preventing access to treatment and care delivery, as well as contributes to the disorder on an individual level.
Stigmatizing views of healthcare workers can lead them to withhold care. Many people with substance use disorders are denied at hospitals because they are believed to be drug-seeking. Other hospital workers may not feel it is their job to treat people with substance use disorders because they don’t see it as a medical condition. A striking finding in a national survey was that three-quarters of primary physicians were unwilling to have a person with a substance use disorder marry into their family, and two-thirds viewed people with substance use disorders as dangerous.
On an individual level, stigma can cause individuals to hide their substance use disorder, leading to social isolation and high-risk behaviors. The stigma can prevent people from reaching out to receive the help and treatment they need.
To combat the substance use disorder crisis, there needs to be an increase in the number of people who are receiving evidence-based treatment. At Haymarket Center, we have evidence-based interventions and state of the art programming geared to strong outcomes.
If you or a loved one suffer from a substance use disorder, please reach out to Haymarket Center. We are here to help you. We will not label you, reject you, or discriminate against you. Hope starts here.