Why do we keep talking about Language and Stigma?

Our efforts to change the language used to discuss substance use disorder are just as evident as our dedication to ending overdose. Perhaps you are wondering why.

The answer is simple. They go together.

Much like Newton’s Cradle (pictured) which demonstrates the law of conservation of energy and momentum, the improper use language surrounding substance use disorder has the ability to perpetuate a negative stigma, preventing an individual from seeking help, and ultimately resulting in an overdose.

Those that live through overdose are aware of the vicious stigma, often do not receive treatment, and consequently their disorder continues.

Did you see how the pattern worked in reverse?

We cannot stop the momentum of the stigma that propels overdose, until we have changed our language regarding substance use disorder.

Words like, “Addict“, “Clean“, and “Achieving Sobriety” all matter and have the ability to impact the stigma of substance use disorder and the people affected by it.

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