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  • Ann Tucker

Breaking the stigma of addiction during the pandemic

Whether the change of heart is compassion-driven or due to a sudden awareness of our own mortality, the reason doesn’t really matter. The point is that slowly but surely we are breaking the stigma of addiction during the pandemic.

The social stigma that has glommed on to individuals suffering from these afflictions is hopefully lifting. As the founder of an addiction recovery complex it is painful to witness so much suffering, not only among the addicted but also among their family members. Addiction impacts a huge number of people beyond the addict—to their family, friends, coworkers, and society at large. You would think that a public health issue this significant would be at the top of the social health priority list, yet there never seems to be the necessary resources to make any significant change in outcomes.

Real change rests on the elimination of shame and guilt that keeps the addicted individual stuck in their disease. Stigma leads to marginalization, which leads to isolation and loneliness, which culminates in a deepening sickness. But breaking the stigma of addiction during the pandemic will hopefully lead to more awareness, increased compassion, and more resources to make a real difference as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. The virus has had an equalizing effect, as suddenly we are all vulnerable to an invisible disease laying waste to our health, finances, and future. All our lives matter, every living being has value. Maybe there will be a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic if a reduction in stigma is sustained. Read more

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