Americans are significantly more likely to have negative attitudes toward drug-addicted people than those with mental health conditions, according to a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers found:
- 43% of participants said they were opposed to drug-addicted people receiving the same health insurance benefits as the general public; 21% said those with mental health illnesses should not receive the same benefits as the general public.
- 64% said businesses should be able to deny employment to a person with drug addiction, while 25% said employers should be able to deny those with mental illness.
- 22% reported they’d be willing to work closely on a job with a person with drug addiction, compared to 62% who said they’d work closely with a person who had a mental condition.
There was only one question in which participants seemed to share similar beliefs about the two groups: about 33% believe it’s impossible to recover from either drug addiction or mental illness. The findings support other studies’ results regarding negative attitudes and substance abuse, including one in which participants said they viewed those with drug addiction as more dangerous and worthy of blame than those with mental conditions or physical disabilities.
It’s Possible to Change Attitudes Toward Drug Addiction
A review of 13 substance abuse stigma intervention studies found 12 of them showed that interventions had a positive impact on how people viewed those with addiction. For example, in one study medical students reported improved attitudes toward pregnant women with substance abuse after being assigned to work with them in a specialized prenatal clinic. In another study, participants showed reduced stigmatizing attitudes after receiving educational leaflets.
Make a Difference in Lancaster
The Lancaster County Recovery Alliance (LCRA), which is made up of people in recovery as well as community members from many backgrounds, is working to change how the Lancaster community views addiction and those in recovery. The group welcomes volunteers who want to help reduce addiction’s stigma and support healthy recovering lifestyles. Find out more by liking the LCRA’s Facebook Page.
Recovery is Possible
Learn more about substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery by visiting Compass Mark’s Lending Library, which offers more than 1,000 resources on everything from addiction to intervention to research. Image courtesy of mrpuen/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.