The article “Changing the Language of Addiction” (written by former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael P. Botticelli and Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH) was sent to the White House on January 9, 2017. This article contains recommendations to change federal terminology regarding substance use and substance use disorders.  Changes in the federal terminology would correspond with the language currently used by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which in 2013 replaced earlier categories of substance “abuse” and “dependence” with a single classification of “substance use disorder.” This comes in an effort to stop the stigma associated with the disease of addiction as research outcomes shows that different labels lead to different outcomes where even healthcare providers are more likely to recommend medical treatment over punitive measures when the word “abuser” is replaced by “disorder.”

Read more about Why the Language we Use is Important  (This handout is courtesy of the Nashua's Department of Public Health and Community Services)

Category: Substance Use Disorder (SUD) on 17 April 2017


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