Breaking the Stigma of Addiction

Break the Stigma - Freedom From Addiction

In an editorial published by Delaware Online, once again the stigma related to addiction is addressed in what is not only a plea to let go of the previous connotation, but also a look at shocking statistics that prove there are far many more people struggling with addiction than "junkies"and "degenerates."

"The stigma of addiction is a wall that must be brought down before we, as a society, can effectively treat the suffering," it says. The editorial comes after a front-page story where mothers confess using heroin and heroin's effects on babies. And while you may not know a baby born with a heroin addiction, as the piece points out, "chances are, you know an addict or a family overcome by the grip of addiction." Stop for just one minute and think about whom you know who is facing addiction, whether directly or second-hand. If you can name one person or more, you are not alone. 

In 2014, the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, reported 27 million people aged 12 or older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days. As the editorial goes on to point out, that's about 1 in 10 Americans. That same report said around 915,000 people tried heroin in the past year. Twenty-three percent of people who try heroin eventually become addicted to the drug, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. If heroin seems extreme, consider this: The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that in 2013, nearly 17 million people 18 or older had an alcohol use disorder. That's seven percent of adults in the U.S. But somehow, we still consider addiction to only effect junkies. It's a stigma that needs to be erased. In doing so we learn that it's a person who struggles with addiction, not an addict. In the throws of this epidemic, finding the person who has become lost along the way is the first step to leading them to recovery.

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