Words Matter

Unintentionally, when talking about addiction, many people use language that is stigmatizing. In today’s time, we understand that addiction is a chronic, treatable, medical condition. Referring to substance abuse as a medical condition will help reduce the stigma and hopefully lead to those with a substance abuse disorder being more willing to seek treatment. Rather than using words such as addict or drug abuser, use person with a substance use disorder. Rather than stating they have a habit, state they have a substance use disorder. Use the term person in recovery rather than former addict.

Many people don’t understand how a person could become addicted to drugs; they feel strongly that they would never let it happen to them. Drug addiction is a complex disease. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to changes in the brain that affect one’s ability to resist the urge to take them again.

For more insight into this topic visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Terri Vidals
Terri Vidals

Terri has been a pharmacist for over 30 years and is a drug diversion mitigation and monitoring subject matter expert. Her years of experience in various roles within hospital pharmacy have given her real-world insight into risk, compliance, and regulatory requirements, as well as best practices for medication and patient safety.

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