Language Matters: Talking About Addiction and Recovery
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
How we communicate about addiction, treatment and recovery to people seeking and receiving help and individuals living in long-term recovery makes a difference. Words have the power to help and heal, but also to discriminate and stigmatize. Some terms have a negative connotation (“abuse” or “addict”) that stigmatize people with an illness as well as those who provide the treatment and recovery services. Other terms (“person in long-term recovery” or “substance use disorder”) identify individuals and their illness with dignity and respect. This episode will address the language that we and how language can influence public perceptions; what research has shown about the use of language and suggestions and tips on how to speak about addiction, treatment and recovery to encourage individuals and family members to get help and support people in recovery and the individuals who work in the field providing services.
Ivette Torres, Associate Director for Consumer Affairs, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).