Updated: Apr 10, 2020
The words we use to discuss recovery, even within the recovery community, can be a barrier to seeking treatment and subsequently contribute to overdose.
Even those words that have historically been used within the recovery community can discourage someone with a substance use disorder from seeking treatment. When attempting to reduce the stigma related to recovery, one thing we can do is to use "people first language." For example instead of referring to someone as an "addict", we may instead say"a person with a substance use disorder."
We may be inadvertently passing judgement on people even without intending to by the labels we use to describe others.
Here is a list of words we can learn to reevaluate the language of recovery
Commonly used words: Replace with:
Addict Person with Substance Use Disorder
Drug Abuse Drug Misuse or Harmful Use
Clean Abstinent or not actively using
Dirty Actively Using
Relapse Recurrence of Symptoms
For a full listing of words visit, addictionary.org
Click the links below for more information on: