Stigma Reduction

Addiction doesn't define me. Support helps, Stigma hurts.

Just about all of us know someone struggling with addiction, whether we realize it or not. Opioids and other substance use disorders can affect anyone. All too often, our family members, friends, and neighbors in Berks County suffer in silence. Fear of being judged and outcast prevents them from seeking treatment. We can all do our part to help eliminate stigma by withholding judgment and by understanding that addiction doesn’t define who a person is. Words of encouragement, hope, and support break through the negative perceptions that prevent people from seeking help.

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SOS Berks First Responders Training Series

First Responders are often the first people on the scene of an overdose. SOS Berks has created a series of three videos aimed at helping first responders gain a better understanding of the programs and resources available in Berks County to help people struggling with opioid use disorder. The videos focus on three resources:

Watch the videos below

You're not alone.

What is Stigma?

Stigma is defined as a set of negative beliefs that a group or society holds about a topic or group of people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stigma is a major cause of discrimination and exclusion and it contributes to the abuse of human rights. When a person experiences stigma they are seen as less than because of their real or perceived health status. Stigma is rarely based on facts but rather on assumptions, preconceptions, and generalizations; therefore, its negative impact can be prevented or lessened through education.

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It is treatable.

Addiction is a Disease

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as “a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.”

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