By Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery
The stigma of addiction is a deadly perception preventing millions of people from seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD). Although addiction is a brain disease that requires treatment, the stigma fosters fear of reaching out for help, ultimately costing lives.
Recovery is now a reality for more than 20 million Americans. By erasing the stigma of addiction, millions more will find the courage and support needed to find hope in recovery by seeking out treatment for their disease. Here is how you can help break the stigma and save lives:
1. Become an Expert.
Seek out expert information and construct a list of reliable resources on addiction, treatment and recovery. Dive into public health studies, community awareness coalitions, policy, news coverage, medical research and personal testimonies. Recommended sources include American Society of Addiction Medicine, National Behavioral Health Council, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of National Drug Control Policy and others. Valley Hope also provides free educational presentations on addiction to organizations.
2. Spread the Message.
Social media is a simple, powerful tool for spreading awareness. Follow expert resources to find meaningful social media content, utilize recovery hashtags like #valleyhope or #recoveryworks, share media stories and other content that combat the stigma. You can also use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to connect and engage with treatment and recovery services and advocacy groups in your community. If you have a personal story of recovery, share with your networks if you are comfortable.
3. Be an Advocate.
Share your expertise and experience directly with a person and/or family suffering from SUD. Sustain your involvement by personally engaging and supporting people during and after treatment. You can empower the patient and their families to wash away the stigma of shame that forces many to remain in the darkness rather than seek treatment and remain in recovery.