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Published: February 27, 2021

Words Matter: Help Destigmatize the Disease of Addiction

Family Physicians can help destigmatize the disease of addiction by carefully choosing the words they use. This handy chart of words to use in place of some common stigmitizing words will help. Put together by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the handout offers background information and tips for providers to keep in mind while using person-first language, as well as terms to avoid to reduce stigma and negative bias when discussing addiction. Although some language that may be considered stigmatizing is commonly used within social communities of people who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), clinicians can show leadership in how language can destigmatize the disease of addiction.

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