Addiction is one of society’s most misunderstood and rebuked health conditions. That stigma discourages many people from seeking treatment for substance dependence, according to a new report published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Research on stigma toward people with substance use disorder (SUD) is relatively sparse, the report adds.
“Characterizing the nature and etiology of SUD stigma is critical for developing tailored and effective interventions to combat it,” wrote psychological scientist Anne C. Krendl and sociologist Brea L. Perry of Indiana University, Bloomington, in their review.
Substance dependence has become a national health threat. Drug overdose rates in the United States have climbed over the past 20 years, driven primarily by opioid and stimulant use. In a recent national survey, nearly 66 million Americans reported abusing alcohol over a 1-month period, and about 20 million reported using illegal narcotics and prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.