Opioid addiction is a public health crisis—the way we're talking about it isn't helping.
The misuse of and addiction to opioids is a public health crisis in the United States. Part of solving that crisis, say two Northeastern researchers, is changing how we talk about addiction.20 Jan 2019
Leo Beletsky, an associate professor at Northeastern who studies opioid addiction, and Zachary Siegel, a doctoral candidatewho's working with him, are creating "Change the Narrative," a guide for healthcare professionals, journalists, policymakers, and lawyers that will help "nudge them toward more accurate, less stigmatized language," Beletsky said.
Countless news stories depict people in the throes of addiction, and lawsuits and public policy discussions portray opioid users as criminals.
"Substance use disorder is a diagnosable and treatable illness, yet one of the only ones that people are still jailed for having," he said. "We don't ask local sheriffs how they plan to tackle obesity or climate change in their community, but they're frequently quoted as experts on this issue because addiction occupies this dueling category of crime and illness."Share this on: