Anti-Stigma Campaign

The Sacramento County Opioid Coalition is working to end stigma against Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Our coalition created a series of PSA videos and infographics to spread the word. Ending stigma saves lives and increases the use of treatment services. 

When someone is sick, we should not shame or blame, but offer support and treatment options.  

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What is Stigma?

Stigma is rejection, avoidance or fear of those perceived as “different.” When a person with Opioid Use Disorder experiences stigma, they are seen as “less than” because of their real or perceived health status. Judgement of someone for their disease causes real harm, disconnecting them from the community and making them feel unwarranted shame. 

Stigma is a particularly significant barrier against seeking treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). In a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study, the general public was more likely to have negative attitudes toward those dealing with drug addiction than those who were dealing with mental illness.

People report perceived stigma from healthcare providers, loved ones, and the general public. Seeking help alone takes an enormous amount of strength and courage but when facing judgement and shame can seem impossible. In order to encourage people to reach out for help and get on the path to recovery, it is important to reduce the stigma surrounding their situation. 

Resources Addressing Stigma

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31 each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. They also offer many downloadable resources.

This document addresses the terminology used to describe addiction and how it has contributed to the stigma.

Narcotics Anonymous will help you stop using drugs and find a new way to live. Find a meeting here, and live drug free. One day at a time. Keep coming back.

The Nar-Anon Family Groups is primarily for those who know or have known a feeling of desperation concerning the addiction problem of someone very near to you. We have traveled that unhappy road too, and found the answer with serenity and peace of mind.

A free information and referral service for the community. Just call 2-1-1 (or 916-498-1000) or 7-1-1 if you are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and ask to be connected to 2-1-1. An InfoLine referral specialist will take your call and choose from over 2,400 nonprofit and public programs to recommend ones best suited to help. Calls are always confidential and interpreters are available free of charge.

This resource examines the role of language in perpetuating substance use disorder stigma, followed by tips for assessing when and how we may be using stigmatizing language, and steps for ensuring that the language we use and messages we deliver are positive, productive, and inclusive.