Here’s One Simple Way We Can Change The Conversation About Drug Abuse

The negative words we use to describe drug addiction — “clean” vs. “dirty,” “patient” vs. “addict” — can drive some individuals away from the very help they so desperately need. To reduce that stigma, we need to start changing the language for people struggling with a disease.

That’s the findings of some recent research and the goal of U.S. drug czar Michael Botticelli.

“Research shows that the language we use to describe this disease can either perpetuate or overcome the stereotypes, prejudice and lack of empathy that keep people from getting treatment they need,” Botticelli told The Huffington Post. “Scientific evidence demonstrates that this disease is caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors, not moral weakness on the part of the individual. Our language should reflect that.”

He said that along with greater prevention and treatment efforts, “reducing the stereotypes and prejudices associated with substance use disorders” is a key element of the Obama administration’s approach.

With that goal in mind, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has drafted a preliminary glossary of suggested language. The drug czar’s office recommends replacing the phrase “crack babies,” for example, with “babies born to mothers with cocaine use disorders.” Even basic terms —> Read More Here


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