Reducing Stigma Education Tools (ReSET)

This OpenEdX free training program on reducing stigma is designed for health care providers and includes 2 modules. The first module explains the impact of opioid use disorder stigma on patients and explores the medial model of addiction. The second module emphasizes developing practical tools for addressing stigma and delivering compassionate, recovery-oriented care to patients with opioid use disorder. Continue reading

Morris County Proud to Be Stigma-Free

Morris County, New Jersey’s Proud to Be Stigma-Free Initiative’s website includes educational information about stigma and how it impedes individuals from seeking help for substance use disorder or mental health conditions. It also includes a community pledge and tool-kits for local municipalities, colleges and universities, and faith-based organizations. Continue reading

Recovery Reinvented

Recovery Reinvented is an initiative of the North Dakota Behavioral Health Division led by North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Burgum who herself is in long term recovery for over 18 years. The goal of Recovery Reinvented is to eliminate the shame and stigma of addiction in North Dakota through education and promoting proven prevention, treatment and recovery approaches. Continue reading

Reducing Stigma Surrounding Substance Use Disorders: Creating a Community-based Anti-Stigma Initiative

Reducing the stigma surrounding substance use disorders requires changing people’s attitudes and behaviors, a challenging task many state and local government and community organizations have undertaken. In this collection, we provide guidance on creating your own community anti-stigma campaigns and examples of programs currently in operation across the country. This collection includes:

  • A 2016 report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine that reviews the evidence for effective strategies for stigma reduction and provide recommendations for creating successful anti-stigma campaigns
  • A tool-kit for creating an anti-stigma campaign from the Central East Addiction Technology and Transfer Center and the Danya Institute
  • A link to the Distorted Perceptions website that includes educational information and materials individuals and organizations can use in creating anti-stigma campaigns
  • A link to the website of the Northeastern University School of Law’s Changing the Narrative project that works to reduce stigma in media representations, provides evidence-based information to counter common myths about drug use and addiction, and connects people with experts willing to speak on anti-stigma topics
  • Reports about and links to websites for community based anti-stigma initiatives that may serve as a model including:
    • Recovery Reinvented, an initiative led by First Lady of North Dakota Kathryn Burgum – website link and a summary of the project from Addiction Policy Forum
    • Stigma Free West Virginia – website link to the homepage with information about the effects of stigma and stories of recovery as well as a link to the project’s training and evaluation website with resources and 6 training videos
    • A link the website for Morris County, New Jersey’s Proud to Be Stigma-Free initiative, which includes anti-stigma tool-kits for communities, colleges and universities, and faith-based organizations
    • A link to the website for A New Path: Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing, an advocacy group with a focus on reducing the stigma associated with addiction and substance use disorder
    • A link to the Massachusetts-based Opioid Project when uses art and storytelling to change perceptions around addition and recovery

If you have additional materials we should consider including in this collection, please see our call for submissions page.


Reducing Stigma Surrounding Substance Use Disorders

Our August collection addresses one of the most significant issues surrounding the opioid crisis: the sigma faced by people who suffer from addictions.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine defines stigma as a range of negative attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that are associated with certain conditions such as addiction. Continue reading

Determinism and Destigmatization: Mitigating Blame for Addiction

This philosophical and scientific exploration of understanding addiction and stigma explores various models explaining addictive behavior, and presents a model of “pragmatic determinism” that recognizes an individual’s genetic or social factors may contribute to the development of addiction while also acknowledging that empowering an individual’s ability to make choices in a compassionate and effective treatment program can also be essential for treatment and recovery. Continue reading

Reducing Stigma Surrounding Substance Use Disorders: Harm Reduction Coalition Training Program

The Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC) created the Understanding Drug Related Stigma training program in partnership with the New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute. According to HRC, the training objectives include:

  • Understanding the meaning of stigma, discrimination, and related concepts
  • Identifying the various ways drug users experience stigma
  • Exploring key sources of preexisting stigma and discrimination including stereotypes and labels placed on drug users
  • Identifying consequences of drug-related stigma on drug users’ willingness to access services
  • Considering ways to address stigma at individual and agency levels
  • Gaining conceptual and practical tools toward promoting attitudes that challenge stigma and support drug users’ needs

This collection includes the training program’s:


Reducing Stigma Surrounding Substance Use Disorders: The Importance of Language

One of the most important steps we can take to counter stigma surrounding substance use and addiction is to be careful about the language we use. Multiple studies have shown that how we talk about substance use and people who use substances can affect people’s engagement in treatment and achievement of recovery.This collection contains resources that explain the importance of carefully choosing words and provides examples of stigma-free language:

  • 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
  • A link to the Recovery Research Institute’s Addictionary that lists language patients, providers, and policymakers can use that is non-stigmatizing and creates a supportive treatment environment for substance use disorders
  • Two one-page infographics that list non-stigmatizing language options when speaking about substance use disorders
  • A 2017 memorandum from the White House Office of Drug Control Policy directing federal agency staff to use non-stigmatizing language when talking about substance use disorders
  • A 2-page guide to non-stigmatizing language from the National Judicial Opioid Task Force