New Addiction Stigma Index is a Call to Action for Us and Recovery Advocates Everywhere
This is an excerpt from the monthly Advocacy Update. If you’d like to receive Hazelden Betty Ford Advocacy Update emails, subscribe today.
Less than 25% of the public believes substance use disorder is a chronic medical illness, like diabetes.
About 45% of the public would be unwilling to have someone with a substance use disorder as a close friend.
And 65% of people would not want to work with someone who has a substance use disorder.
Those are among the key findings of a new national survey of 8,000 residents, conducted by our friends at Shatterproof in collaboration with The Hartford. The Shatterproof Addiction Stigma Index is reportedly the largest and most expansive analysis on addiction stigma ever conducted and re-confirms that the stigma associated with the disease of addiction unfortunately persists.
“Addiction stigma is a set of unfair, negative, and often discriminatory beliefs directed toward individuals with substance use disorders. These views can erode their self-worth, create social isolation, and reduce access to care, which exacerbates the problem. It also clouds the nation’s ability to coalesce around meaningful solutions, including treatment, harm reduction, and recovery supports and services.” — Matthew Stefanko, Brea Perry and Anne Krendl for STAT
So, where does that leave us? It’s certainly a call to action — to double down on the commitment to tell stories that humanize addiction and recovery, and break down stigma. It’s also motivation to bring those stories to the public, to policymakers, to board rooms, to Rotary Clubs and everywhere in between.
That was certainly the focus at the recent Recovery Reinvented event in Bismarck, North Dakota, where our President and CEO Dr. Joseph Lee (pictured above) gave a keynote about the spirit of recovery. Organized and hosted by First Lady Kathryn Burgum and Gov. Doug Burgum, the event featured numerous, diverse stories of hope and healing, exposing more than 2,000 people from across the state, nation and world to the spirit and reality of recovery. A new stigma study was revealed there as well, and showed that the Recovery Reinvented initiative — centered around stories — has helped reduce stigma in that state.
Jeremiah Gardner is the director of communications and public affairs at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. Please share questions, thoughts and ideas. Plus, follow us on Twitter for daily updates.