People seeking help with their addiction or in long-term recovery routinely and consistently encounter public and private policies and laws that make it hard for them to get treatment and recovery support services, jobs, housing, and medical care and to exercise their civic rights. These discriminatory policies and laws are different from attitudes held by people that may or may not stigmatize people with addiction, because laws and polices can be changed and enforced. Discriminatory laws affect the ability of individuals to sustain their recovery, thus affecting clinical treatment outcomes as well as perpetuating addiction, family violence, school dropout rates, crime, injuries, and the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases.

According to the Institute of Medicine, the effects of stigma extend beyond the attitudes and ...

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