Stigmatizing language and disrespectful behaviour affect the way people see themselves and how they are treated by society as a whole. It is important to remember that a substance use disorder should be treated as a medical condition. Shifting language to more accurately reflect the nature of the health condition can lead to wider support of life-saving interventions.⁴
Some people internalize the stigma surrounding substance use, causing them to feel ashamed and to struggle with feelings of worthlessness. Other people’s negative attitudes towards them can amplify and further reinforce these feelings.
International studies by the World Health Organization show hazardous alcohol and drug use disorders are among the most stigmatized conditions.