Please join Community and Family Resources, along with others across the nation, to fight stigma related to substance use disorders by participating in the Opioid Response Network’s Stand Against Stigma Challenge
funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This 21-day challenge is an opportunity for individuals and organizations, particularly those working in healthcare and justice systems, to talk about their work and what can be done to reduce the devastating impact stigma and substance use disorders has on our communities. Learn more at www.SASChallenge.org
Stigma is rooted in the belief that having a substance use disorder is a personal choice reflecting a lack of willpower or character flaw. Further, the general public often holds the view that individuals in the justice system are untrustworthy and dangerous. Coupling both can create serious barriers to care. Stigma often impacts the likelihood an individual will seek help or complete treatment, can lead to lower self-esteem and high levels of social isolation, and impact the attitudes of treatment providers. Stigma can even lead to reduced public and political support for treatment funding and policies, making access to treatment even more difficult. Quite often family members of the individual seeking treatment struggle with the associated stigma as well, making treatment even more difficult.
Research shows that nearly eighty five percent (85%) of the prison population has an active substance use disorder or were incarcerated for a crime involving drugs or drug use. Data has also shown that within the first two weeks after release from prison, the risk of death from a drug overdose is 12.7 times higher than for the general population. A systematic review of 28 studies also found that healthcare professionals had negative attitudes toward patients with substance use disorders and the negative attitudes of health professionals diminished patients’ feelings of empowerment and subsequent treatment outcomes. Combating stigma is essential for addressing this crisis from both medical and legal perspectives and we need to cultivate better communication and collaboration among the two systems.
The Stand Against Stigma Challenge
is easy. Commit to 21 days to educate yourself and others on stigma as it relates to substance use disorders and co-occurring psychiatric disorders for those in the general community and those justice involved. Visit www.SASChallenge.org
to learn more.