Discrimination against drug addicts

Discrimination against drug addicts is a form of discrimination against people who suffer from a drug addiction. In the process of stigmatization, drug addicts are stereotyped as having a particular set of undesirable traits, in turn causing other individuals to act in a fearful or prejudicial manner toward them.[1][2][3] Drug use discrimination also leads to many users being secretive about drug use.[4] As it relates to healthcare stigmatizing attitudes surrounding drug use can cause barriers to treatment uptake and engagement.[5] In some of its manifestations, discrimination against drug addicts involves a violation of human rights.[6]

People with substance use disorders are often depicted as human beings who are not capable of staying drug-free and are often addressed using derogatory terms. The reasoning for not helping patients seek the treatments needed are often due to the terms used to identify them, such as "crackhead" or "junkie".[7] The name-calling and stigma place a sense of shame in people with substance use disorder for a disease that takes control of them physically and psychologically. Self-stigmatization is the shame experienced by persons labeled as addict. Their perception of insignificance originates from the biased and uninformed public stigma that excludes the addict from social acceptance. This social exclusion derives from the belief that addiction is a moral defect resulting in negative stereotypes. The negative stereotypes placed on those experiencing addiction is internalized into feelings of shame and guilt, and a motivating factor to continue self-destructive using behaviors.[8]