Shame won’t help those addicted to opioids

My sister was not a “drunk, drugged-up loser.” Yet language like this, used to describe addicts, has consequences in the opioid crisis.

I experienced my sister Jenny’s opioid addiction, her suffering and her death in just six days last July. She was part of the 90 percent of the 21 million Americans struggling with substance use disorder who never seek treatment.

Our family’s story isn’t unique, and it isn’t the saddest story. But it’s a chilling example of how derogatory language, stigma and denial render families helpless in this health crisis.

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