This Resource Can Help Your Institution Combat Stigma and Improve Recovery Services for Opioid Use Disorders

Research Brief | August 17, 2020 | The Detroit Area Mental Health Leadership Team

What is the role of stigma in the opioid epidemic and how can we address it? 

The Detroit Area Mental Health Leadership Team, a research partnership led by the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, collaborated with community and academic partners in the Detroit area to develop an advocacy brief that can guide academic, health and other institutions in addressing this challenge in addition to redesigning recovery services in the time of Covid-19. Altarum is proud to be part of this initiative.

Why do we need this advocacy brief? As the opioid epidemic continues to sweep through the US, and the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on our economic and health care systems, vulnerable and at-risk populations dealing with opioid use disorder may be further marginalized. Additionally, the stigma and discrimination associated with drug use, coupled with a lack of trust in medical providers, often discourages people from seeking care.

The brief recommends public health approaches to reducing stigma and redesigning recovery services during the pandemic, including:

  • Increasing affordable access to resources.
  • Creating collaborative partnerships that focus on structural, social, and economic disparities.
  • Engaging the media as partners in the fight against stigma by eliminating sensationalizing and dehumanizing language.
  • Educating the community on the role of stigma in cultural norms and laws to help them advocate for change.
  • Implementing robust provider education.
  • Encouraging recovery-oriented systems of care.
  • Increasing community-level access to data and evidence-based practices.

Ready to learn more? Download the Advocacy Brief Combating Stigma Associated with Opioid Use Disorders

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