A new study by Johns Hopkins demonstrates that the stigma of drug addiction is alive and well in the American public perception. The study, conducted between October 30th and December 2nd, 2013, polled people about their attitudes towards either mental health or drug addiction. While both mental health and drug addiction are treatable, the majority of those survey looked upon drug addiction as a “moral failing” rather.
Overcoming Drug Addiction & its Stigmas
You can read more here on the new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research study with this article written by Stephanie Desmon and Susan Morrow.
The truth is impossible to ignore: Even though the medical community and those in recovery from drug addiction look upon addiction as a chronic, progressive and fatal disease (often called the “disease of addiction” or more recently as a “substance use disorder”), the general public still looks upon those suffering from addiction as weak, as morally corrupt or bad people, as people who make choices and deserve their fate. The general public often is unwilling to equip those suffering from drug addiction with the money necessary for quality drug treatment or necessary ancillary supportive services like sober housing or long term substance abuse treatment.
This stigma surrounding overcoming drug addiction is often a major barrier for an individual to ask for help or for an addict’s family to come forward seeking help for their loved one. Drug addiction is an illness that grows and strengthens in the shadows. The shame surrounding addiction and an addict knowing that they will be chastised and judged by their friends or family for coming forward and asking for necessary addiction treatment keeps many people using drugs and alcohol for many years and for many of them, to death.
Addiction must be looked at in the same light as mental illness, a treatable illness that needs society and community support. Additionally, just like the stigma of race, sex, homosexuality, AIDS, mental illness and other societal issues were broken, those dealing with and fighting against the stigma need to come forward in unity. People in recovery need to come forward, so society may see someone suffering from addiction or substance use disorder not as a homeless junkie, a scumbag or villain and rather see what can become of that person once they receive the necessary treatment that addiction requires: an upstanding member of society, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a friend, a business owner, a trusted employee, a public servant and many other things.
People trying to overcome drug addiction have a lot to overcome. It’s sad that one of those things is the stigma placed on them by society. However, as this new study from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore shows, there is a very long way to go to break the stigma of addiction.
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If you or someone you know is suffering from drug abuse or drug addiction and is in need of drug treatment, please call us for help. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive addiction treatment in the area. If you aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will work with you to find a treatment center that best fits your needs. Please feel free to call us at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on all of our drug and alcohol addiction treatment services and resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.