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, which are 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)
Statewide and Large-scale Anti Stigma Campaigns, Region 5
- Help is Here: Helpline for opioids and other Substances
- NAMI Illinois: Education, support, and advocacy for people affected by mental illness
- FIX: Heartbreak and Hope Inside Our Opioid Crisis: Indiana State Museum exhibit designed to bring communities together to break the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder. Opening Feb. 2, 2020.
- Know the Facts: Offers education on opioid and other substance use disorders
- Next Level Recovery: Indiana state project for substance use prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery
- Overdose Lifeline, Inc.: Statewide Indiana non-profit dedicated to helping those affected by substance use disorder. Offers the course: Removing the Shame and Stigma of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)/Addiction (RSS-SUD) Program and Trainer Course
- Stigma Never Helps: Indiana Recovery Council statewide campaign to address stigma around mental health and substance use
- What are fiends for? Marion County Public Health Department campaign to reduce stigma related to substance use disorder and reduce opioid-related overdose deaths.
- Get the Facts: State of Michigan project on opioid resources and facts
- Stop the Stigma: Unite to Face Addiction Michigan project to eliminate stigma and improve access to treatment
- University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center: Dedicated to detecting, preventing mental illness; reducing stigma.
- Bring Change to Mind: Nonprofit dedicated to ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness
- Mental Health is Health: MN Department of Human Services program that provides a range of mental health services
- Minnesota Recovery Connection: Dedicated to ending stigma around substance misuse
- Language First Words Matter
- WISE End Stigma Together: Building resilience, inclusion, and hope for mental health in Wisconsin communities
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.
Words Matter: How Language Choice Can Reduce Stigma: Guide to non-stigmatizing language. Produced by Prevention Solutions at Education Development Center.
National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment: Research group based at the Illinois Institute of Technology
The Opioid Crisis in Tribal and Rural Communities
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Ending Discrimination Against People with Mental and Substance Use Disorders: The Evidence for Stigma Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/23442
Cook, J. E., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Meyer, I. H., & Busch, J. T. (2014). Intervening within and across levels: A multilevel approach to stigma and public health. Social Science & Medicine, 103, 101-109.
Corrigan, P.W., Kuwabara, SA., O’Shaughnessy, J. (2009). The Public Stigma of Mental Illness and Drug Addiction: Findings from a Stratified Random Sample. Journal of Social Work. (9)(2): 139-147
Kelly, J. F., Dow, S. J., & Westerhoff, C. (2010). Does our choice of substance-related terms influence perceptions of treatment need? An empirical investigation with two commonly used terms. Journal of Drug Issues, 40(4), 805-818
Kelly, J. F., & Westerhoff, C. M. (2010). Does it matter how we refer to individuals with substance-related conditions? A randomized study of two commonly used terms. International Journal of Drug Policy, 21(3), 202-207
Livingston, J. D., Milne, T., Fang, M. L., & Amari, E. (2012). The effectiveness of interventions for reducing stigma related to substance use disorders: a systematic review. Addiction, 107(1), 39-50Nyblade, L., Stockton, M. A., Giger, K., Bond, V., Ekstrand, M. L., Mc Lean, R., ... & Turan, J. (2019). Stigma in health facilities: why it matters and how we can change it. BMC medicine, 17(1), 25
Pachankis, J. E., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Starks, T. J. (2014). The influence of structural stigma and rejection sensitivity on young sexual minority men's daily tobacco and alcohol use. Social Science & Medicine, 103, 67-75
Page updated: March 4, 2020