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Substance Abuse Stigma: Concept Analysis.

Substance abuse stigma is a social phenomenon that negatively impacts individuals who use illicit substances or alcohol. This stigma includes the derogatory terms used to describe people who use substances; perceptions that individuals with alcohol and substance use disorder are dangerous, immoral, and of weak character; and the public blaming of the addicted people for their addiction. Substance abuse took the life of over 100,000 Americans between 2020 and 2021, and one identified barrier to treatment is the stigma associated with substance abuse. When someone is ashamed, they are less likely to seek treatment, and when someone is seeking help and is greeted with negative preconceptions, they are again deterred from treatment. The stigma exists in multiple layers of society including the general public, policy makers, the police, doctors, and nurses and within the person using the substance. The purpose of this article is to define substance abuse stigma in multiple contexts and explore its effects on treatment.

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