Stigma can be described as negative attitudes towards an individual or circumstances based on preconceived judgement. Stigma, a form of discrimination, is an ongoing barrier for individuals struggling with substance use. One of our top priorities at the Center for Addiction Medicine and Policy is to mitigate stigma in the healthcare setting by addressing stigmatizing language and actions that cascade into missed treatment opportunities for patients. We believe that patients should find trust without judgement when they present for care and strive to advocate for stigma free language and dialogue regarding patients with opioid use disorder.
Having unified language is crucial in mitigating stigma. We love this Addictionary, which helps to guide us in what language is deemed stigmatizing, with suggestions on how we can improve our approach.