Preventing and Reducing Stigma
The Great Lakes PTTC is committed to preventing and reducing the pervasive stigma associated with having, treating, or being in recovery from a substance use disorder.
Our efforts include:
- Disseminating research on the impact of stigma on populations and key community sectors
- Presenting evidence-based and theoretically sounds stigma prevention or reduction strategies
- Spreading the message that a substance use disorder is a chronic medical condition rather than a moral failing
- Encouraging the use of non-stigmatizing language related to substance use disorders
- Building awareness of anti-stigma initiatives at the community and state levels in the Great Lakes Region
Purpose of this Webpage
This web page contributes to national efforts to understand and change attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that can lead to stigma and discrimination. Changing stigma in a lasting way will require coordinated efforts based on the best possible evidence. This web page provides a place to learn about the impact of stigma on vulnerable populations and offers best practices for preventing and reducing stigma with vulnerable populations within relevant community sectors.
A Basic Definition
“Stigma can be understood as an attribute, behavior, or reputation that is socially discrediting, and substance-related problems appear to be particularly susceptible to stigma.” (John F. Kelly∗, Cassandra M. Westerhoff)
A Statement on Language
“How we refer to individuals with substance-related conditions and that use of, and exposure to, the “abuser” label may inadvertently elicit and perpetuate stigmatizing attitudes. Because such a low proportion of individuals with these costly and harmful conditions access treatment and cite stigma as a major barrier” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2008)
Great Lakes Region Statewide and Large Scale Anti-Stigma Campaigns
How Community Sectors Are Addressing Stigma
Great Lakes PTTC Products: Preventing and Reducing Stigma
Preventing the Spread of Stigma Part 1, Changing Attitudes & Terminology
Preventing the Spread of Stigma Part 2, Statewide Anti-Stigma Campaigns
ATTC Network Products: Preventing and Reducing Stigma
Our partner project, the ATTC Network, offers a wide array of recorded webinars and publications that address strategies to prevent and reduce stigma. ATTC Regional Centers across the nation have created resources that you can access through the ATTC Network Products & Resources Catalog.
SAMHSA Resources for Preventing and Reducing Stigma
National Recovery Month increases awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders and promotes recovery.
Resources from NIDA
Addressing the Stigma That Surrounds Addiction Nora's Blog, April 22, 2020
A growing body of research explores the impact of prevention on stigma. Click here for a list of peer-reviewed studies.
Other Resources for Preventing and Reducing Stigma
Related resources offer guidance on use of non-stigmatizing language, stigma and empowerment, and the impact of stigma in underserved populations.
Click here to learn more.
Page Update: April 24, 2020