Addiction Recovery - Trends and Statistics - Drug and Alcohol

How Addiction Centers Help End the Stigma Around Harm Reduction

Learn how addiction centers can make a difference by ending addiction stigma, and advocating for those recovering from addiction

How Addiction Centers Help End the Stigma Around Harm Reduction

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

May 25, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

The negative stigmas of substance use disorders can lead to misunderstandings and discourage people from getting the help they need. Fortunately, due to the spreading of more accurate information, people are becoming more aware of the fact that these stigmas are counterproductive.

Many wonder how they can decrease the levels of substance abuse in their communities without relying on shame as a tactic.

A better strategy for harm reduction would counteract the negative stigma around getting help for substance use disorders. It would support people who are just looking into treatment as well as those who have completed treatment and are seeking to transition back into society.

Ending the Stigma Is Necessary

Over 25% of adults in the United States reported at least one heavy drinking day in the past year, and over 11% reported illicit drug use in the past month. Not all of those people develop a substance use disorder, but many do. Unfortunately, thousands of individuals die from overdoses every year, and for the past decade, the number of overdoses has increased.

Understanding how commonly Americans use drugs and alcohol is unfortunately not enough to end the addiction stigma. Addiction centers are working to actively counteract this stigma. They need to convince people who are struggling with substance abuse disorders that they will be respected as they work toward recovery.

Not only that, but they often must educate the community about how shame from negative stigmas can keep people who want to receive help from doing so.

This is very unfortunate because addiction centers and other substance use treatment options are great ways to reduce harmful situations and increase health and sobriety in the community. They decrease the number of overdoses, help people break the cycle of addiction, and provide fact-based information for anyone interested in recovery.

Better Understanding Produces Better Results

Promoting a better understanding of substance use disorders and the recovery process is a way that individuals can reduce harm in their community. Accurate information reduces fear of addiction recovery by making the process more familiar and less intimidating.

A compassionate approach reduces the shame of asking for help when substance use becomes a problem. Removing the fear and shame encourages people to get help for their substance use.

After all, individuals who are developing a substance use disorder often find themselves too afraid to ask for help because they expect to be looked down on due to the stigma of substance abuse. If the community gives them better access to information about the harm reduction strategies that are in place to help them, more people will begin their recovery journeys.

Not only that, but fewer people will become discouraged if treatment is not successful right away. After all, not everyone who has a substance use disorder will have the same challenges, nor will they have the same treatment plans. It is essential to have as much factual information as possible in society so that more people can find a way to get help and not be afraid of it.

End the Stigma in Your Community

Currently, the substance use recovery industry is working to implement harm reduction strategies and educate the public about these strategies so that more people choose to get help. These harm reduction strategies often include education, information, and treatment options that show people how they can create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their loved ones across the entire United States.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the scope of substance abuse in America, it is now more important than ever to eliminate the stigma of harm reduction strategies. The belief that shame is an effective tool for controlling substance abuse in society is long outdated. No longer is there an excuse for shaming or blaming people who struggle with substance use disorders.

Promoting shame only isolates people, which can worsen their dependence on substances.

Instead, the community needs to work together to help people understand substance use and recovery. Education about these topics will only help society promote positive change and healthier ways of living. It will reach people who are struggling and connect them with the treatment that will enable them to build productive, meaningful, substance-free lives.

If an individual is struggling with a substance use disorder, it is essential to treat them with compassion, not judgment. It can help to understand that it is the chemical imbalance created in the brain by substance use that causes the negative reactions and behaviors associated with addiction. More importantly, individuals need to understand that change is possible. 

Reaching out for help for a substance use disorder can be a frightening idea if individuals are worried about what people at the addiction center or other people in their life will think of them. Therefore, it is imperative for others to help end the stigma around harm reduction in their house and in their community.

The Forge Recovery Center Will Help You Live A Healthier Lifestyle

When people receive treatment for substance use disorders, they increase sobriety and healthy living in their communities. Society should stop shaming people for seeking treatment for substance use disorders; that only discourages them and makes them more likely to continue on the path toward further dependence, serious health issues, and danger to themselves and others.

Fortunately, the addiction recovery industry is actively working to counteract the counterproductive stigma around harm reduction and promote education and compassionate care.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse and needs help, or if you want to be part of ending the stigma around harm reduction in your community, reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today.

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