STIGMA

Stigma has been defined as “a mark of shame or disgrace.” The stigma of addiction stems from behaviors associated with substance use disorders. These behaviors often include impaired judgment and result in legal, occupational and relationship problems. Typically, these kinds of consequences cause embarrassment and shame among those afflicted and affected. They also create stigmatized attitudes and perceptions about addiction among the wider public, a response that perpetuates the shame associated with addiction. Drug and alcohol addiction are often seen as a moral issue or a criminal matter rather than a health problem.  The combination of personal shame and public stigma is seen as a primary barrier to effective interventions and prevents many people from getting help.  VNRH reduces stigma through education and training of healthcare professionals, families, and the community at large.

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