Anyone can become dependent on drugs and struggle with addiction.

Family, friends and the public often have negative feelings about drug use or behavior. Addiction is not a moral failing and we need to remember that we can all change the conversation and decrease the stigma around drug use and addiction. People with a substance use disorder have a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully treated, but stigma negatively impacts a person’s willingness to get treatment or health care and can cause significant self-esteem and mental health issue.

No one likes to feel judged or devalued. We must reduce the stigma to encourage people to ask for help and recovery.

  • Offer compassionate support.
  • Display kindness to people in vulnerable situations.
  • Listen while withholding judgment.
  • See a person for who they are, not what drugs they use.
  • Learn about how drug dependency works.
  • Treat people with drug dependency with dignity and respect.
  • Avoid hurtful labels.
  • Replace negative attitudes with evidence-based facts.
  • Speak up when you see someone mistreated because of their drug use.


ImageTitleDescriptionFile TypeLink
A Discussion of Stigma – VideoA Discussion of Stigma as it Affects Those with Opioid Use Disorder. Interviews with multiple people about their experience with stigma surrounding opioid use.
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An Interview with Dr. Snehal BhattDr. Bhatt is one of New Mexico's most well-respected experts in the field of Addiction Psychiatry. His approach is both scientific and human centered.
Stop the Stigma VideoShort ~80 second video detailing the Stop the Stigma campaign, featuring the "Addiction is not a moral failing" slogan.
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Stop the Stigma Video – SpanishSpanish Language Short ~80 second video detailing the Stop the Stigma campaign. Abandonen el stigma.
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