Drug Overdose Prevention Coordinator Talks Stigma Around Drug Use

The Northwest and Central Oklahoma Drug Overdose Prevention Coordinator John Gray was in the studio with Garfield County Health Department Public Information Officer Dianna Hernandez to talk with Enidlive.com about drug overdose prevention.

Gray mentioned that the stigma around drug use can actually hurt, this is how Gray described stigma “stigma is related a lot of times to the words that are used to describe people who are suffering from substance use disorder. And so words really matter because that can have an impact on a person’s psyche”.

Gray went on to define the 3 types of stigma saying “So there are three types of stigma. The first type is self-stigma, and this happens when someone internalizes messages about people who use drugs and apply them to themselves. The second form of stigma is social stigma, and this is negative attitudes or behavior towards people who use drugs or towards their friends and family. And then the third is structural stigma. And {this} stigma is policies and health and social services that increase stigma and barriers to getting help”.

Gray mentioned alternate words that could be used that don’t carry the same stigma saying “so instead of using words like addict junkie, user drug abuser, recreational drug user, you can use persons who have, who uses drugs or persons with a substance use disorder or addiction, or persons with lived experience, or persons who occasionally use drugs or patient”.

The full interview with Gray and Hernandez can be listened to at this link. https://soundcloud.com/derek-darr-389435489/john-gray-dianna-hernandez-full-interview-final-01