In the substance abuse field, stigma refers to widely held negative opinions of drugs of abuse, those who use them, and those who are addicted to them. Although the degree of stigmatization of drug use and dependence has varied over time and with drug and user characteristics, stigma has been strongly associated with those who lose control over drug use. Stigma has a profound impact on drug-dependent individuals and those associated with them, including family members, neighborhoods, treatment professionals and programs, and treatment and recovery advocates. Stigma delays treatment seeking and influences treatment effectiveness.

In November 2000, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment addressed the issue of stigma in its publication Changing the Conversation, Improving Substance Abuse Treatment: The National Treatment Plan Initiative. The consensus panel ...

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