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Substance Use Disorders and Stigma: Research, Racial Disparities and Promising Approaches

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

On Thursday, November 19, 2020 the Addiction Policy Forum and the Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation hosted a virtual briefing on Substance Use Disorders and Stigma: Research, Racial Disparities and Promising Approaches. Presenters discussed the latest research on stigma, the interplay of racial disparities and stigma and promising approaches to end the stigma surrounding addiction.

This is the first briefing of a series hosted through the Stop the Stigma campaign, focused on ending the stigma surrounding substance use disorders and providing a platform for patients, researchers, and advocates to share their stories.


  • Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

  • Vicky Cornell, Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation

  • Jessica Hulsey, Addiction Policy Forum

  • Camille Schrier, Miss America, Doctor of Pharmacy Student

  • Beverly Watts Davis, WestCare Foundation

  • Congressman David Trone, Maryland's Sixth Congressional District

  • Dr. Valerie Earnshaw, University of Delaware

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), substance use disorder (SUD) is one of the most stigmatized psychiatric conditions worldwide. Despite the fact that over 20.3 million people in the United States struggle with substance use, nearly half of Americans don’t think that addiction is a disease. In 2018, 16 percent of individuals with a SUD did not seek treatment because they worried that it would have a negative impact on their employment; and approximately 15 percent felt it would impact their community’s view of them. This stigma leads to discrimination in health care, criminal justice, employment, child custody, and housing, especially in rural communities where treatment and recovery resources may be scarce.

The Addiction Policy Forum together with Toni and Christopher Cornell have launched a nationwide campaign entitled “Stop the Stigma: Tackling the Stigma of Addiction through Education.”


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