Opioid use disorder is a complex disease that affects people’s health, relationships, and entire lives. The first step to recovery for those with opioid use disorder and the people who support them, is knowing why it occurs and how to work toward successful treatment.
Stigma stops recovery.
You might not be familiar with the term stigma, but for many West Virginians battling opioid use disorder, it can be as dangerous as the drugs themselves. Stigma is made up of the negative misconceptions that surround the opioid crisis, prescription drug misuse, and those struggling with the disorder. Stigma is all too common in our society—and it’s one of the biggest barriers to treatment and successful recovery.
Calling people “addicts” or “junkies”; negative attitudes among health care professionals toward evidence-based treatment as “substituting one drug for another”; or the mistaken belief that addiction is a choice or moral failure even though decades of scientific work says otherwise — are all examples of stigmatizing behavior. All these labels spread fear and leave a mark of shame on people in need of treatment and that added burden of guilt and anxiety makes them afraid to ask for help or get the care that could help give them back their dignity and lives.
There are many ways to stop the cycle of stigma in West Virginia. It can be as simple as replacing demeaning terms with “person in active addiction” or “person with substance use disorder.” Medical professionals can also seek scientific resources and ask their peers to become more informed about all available and effective treatment options for opioid use disorder.
Take back control of your life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid use disorder, don’t put off treatment any longer. You’re not alone and recovery is possible. Use the map to locate the treatment center closest to you. HELP4WV.com offers call, text, or chat options for immediate help.
Find a treatment center
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid use disorder, don’t put off treatment any longer. You’re not alone and recovery is possible. Visit dhhr.wv.gov/office-of-drug-control-policy/help/ to locate the treatment center closest to you. 1‑844‑HELP4WV offers call, text, or chat options for immediate help.