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Addiction Policy Forum Launches Nationwide Anti-Stigma Initiative

100 Communities Join Large-Scale Effort to Address the Stigma of Addiction

October 3, 2023

Bethesda, MD – Addiction Policy Forum launched the Anti-Stigma Initiative this month, which includes over 100 pilot sites nationwide working to reduce addiction stigma and increase knowledge about addiction in their communities.

“Individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD) are too often subject to harsh moral judgments and frequent discrimination, which can delay treatment access and increase rates of dropout from treatment and recovery services,” shared Jessica Hulsey, Executive Director of Addiciton Policy Forum. “All key sectors in our communities must come together to address the manifestations of stigma and improve knowledge and compassion. This initiative will allow us to test new scales and interventions to address stigma at the local level.”

Decreasing stigma involves increasing addiction knowledge levels to counteract education gaps and misconceptions about SUDs. Understanding addiction as a health condition underscores its treatability and encourages early intervention and access to the healthcare system and better management of the chronic health condition.

Anti-Stigma pilot sites will participate in a study conducted by the University of Delaware and the Addiction Policy Forum to measure addiction knowledge, confidence in responding to a substance use disorder, and levels of stigma, including stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Sites will also help field test the Responding to Addiction intervention developed by the Addiction Policy Forum to increase knowledge about substance use disorders, correct misconceptions, and reduce stigma. The intervention teaches participants about the science of addiction, evidence-based treatment options, medications to treat addiction, skills to better respond to an individual with an SUD, and critical components of recovery support.

To learn more about the Anti-Stigma Initiative, visit


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