STIGMA & Addiction


For people who use drugs, or are recovering from problematic drug use, stigma can be a barrier to a wide range of opportunities and rights.  People who are stigmatized can endure:


  • Social rejection
  • Labeling
  • Stereotyping
  • Discrimination
  • Denial of employment or housing
  • Accessing treatment


Even among people who use drugs, stigma towards other who use a different drug can be common.


  • Those who use alcohol (legal and socially acceptable) feel negatively about illegal drug use (marijuana)
  • Those who use illegal drugs perceived as “soft”, such as marijuana, feel prejudices against those who use powdered, harder drugs like cocaine.
  • Those who snort drugs look down upon those who inject a drug.


YOU can help end stigma by:


  • Learning the facts about different drugs
  • Learning the facts about drug use and addiction
  • Understanding and sharing information about evidence-based treatment for substance abuse
  • Language matters – instead of referring to someone as a “junkie” or “addict”, say “a person addicted to drugs”.

Words Matter...


Instead Of Saying Certain Phrases, Try a Non-Judgmental Alternative!

Download "Words Matter" Discussion Guide (Pdf)

Download "Words Matter" Words to Use (Pdf)



(301) 759-5050

12501-12503 Willowbrook Road, PO Box 1745

Cumberland, Maryland 21501-1745

OUR MISSION: Prescribe Change Allegany County’s mission is to create awareness and educate the citizens of Allegany County,
Maryland about the growing crisis of opioid prescription drugs, and heroin misuse and abuse in our community.