In recent years substance-related overdoses, many of which involve opioids, have contributed to more deaths than car accidents. Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a medical condition that continues to be highly stigmatized, which exacerbates these losses and increases barriers to improving the opioid crisis. Stigma comes in many forms (e.g., self-stigma, social stigma, and structural stigma). Each of these forms of stigma serve to increase discrimination and can be barriers to treatment seeking, resulting in continued use of substances and the devastating impacts of the opioid crisis. Stigma creates a vicious cycle that requires evidence-based and intentional efforts to combat. It is important to focus efforts on increasing education, increasing the use of recovery language, and building an understanding of evidence-based treatments. This presentation reviews the opioid epidemic, including base knowledge of what opioids are, use of non-stigmatizing language, and an evidence-based treatment overview. The importance of stigma reduction in the fight against the opioid crisis is discussed.
1. Recognize and explain the potential dangers of opioids and the current opioid crisis in the United States.
2. Recognize evidence-based treatments for Opioid Use Disorder.
3. Develop effective methods for reducing self, social, and structural stigma.