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Using Non-Stigmatizing Imagery for Substance Use Disorders and Justice Involvement

Updated: May 3, 2023


Modifying imagery and language used to describe and represent individuals with a substance use disorder or criminal justice involvement is an intervention that researchers, institutions and other perceivers can implement. Stigmatizing imagery can contribute to the stereotypes of addiction, and potentially trigger trauma or relapse among individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder or involvement in the justice system.

Developed by the Addiction Policy Forum with support from the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network, the report includes recommendations for images to use and images to avoid in publications and materials. The guidance is informed by a focus group conducted by JCOIN's Coordination and Translation Center (CTC) in December 2020, and interviews with individuals with lived experience with substance use disorder and criminal justice involvement.


Led by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and funded through the NIH HEAL Initiative, JCOIN is a groundbreaking initiative designed to advance scientific knowledge on effective policies, practices, and interventions, and expand their use into daily practice within health and justice settings.


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