This web page summarizes a study that looked at the effects of language on attitudes towards people who use substances. The study offered participants two descriptions of individuals — a person who was a “substance abuser” or a person who “had a substance use disorder” – and then asked several questions about the participant’s impressions of these persons. The study found that language mattered; when the individual was described as a substance abuser, the participants had more negative attitudes towards the individual including less likely to benefit from treatment and more likely to benefit from punishment. This study confirms previous research that language matters when discussing substance use.
Funding Source: Various Grants & Donations
The Real Stigma of Substance Use Disorders: Does it Matter How We Talk About People with Substance Use Disorder?
A plain language summary of a study that looked at the effects of language on people's attitudes towards people who use substances from the Recovery Research Institute