Make the connection. Have the conversation. Stop the stigma.
Understand the facts.
Addiction is a complex health condition.
Addiction is not a choice. It’s a complex health condition. People experiencing addiction haven’t failed, and neither have their families.
Why do people use substances? What leads to addiction? People use drugs for many different reasons, such as childhood or intergenerational trauma, physical pain or injury, or mental health challenges. Every person’s story is unique.
Compassionate connections help people experiencing addiction.
Having an addiction does not mean someone is broken. People experiencing addiction may feel disconnected and alone. Tough love can push people farther away.
People who use drugs and people and people with substance use disorders deserve kindness and compassion. Showing your support is not enabling their addiction.
Stigma hurts people.
“Stigma” refers to negative beliefs we hold that aren’t based on facts. To stigmatize a person is to exclude them or shame them based on our incorrect beliefs. We may treat them as outsiders, as unimportant or even as immoral and deserving of punishment. When we stigmatize people, we discourage them from seeking help or support.
The stigma around addiction can cause people to feel shame or blame. It can also cause people to hide their drug use, which increases their chance of toxic drug injury or death. But this stigma is changing. More and more people understand that addiction is a complex health condition and not a moral failing.