The Stigma of Addiction

Published July 2021

The Psychiatric Services Editor’s Choice provides essential curated collections from recent issues of Psychiatric Services.  Each month, Editor Lisa Dixon and the Early Career Psychiatrist Advisory Committee offer a curated collection from the rich resource of articles published in the journal. Updates will focus on one area, summarizing for the researcher, clinician, and policy analyst the latest information and seminal research with links to specific content from Psychiatric Services.

Stigma toward addiction is pervasive in the general public and within health care systems. Although effective treatments are available for substance use disorders, most individuals with these disorders do not receive treatment and frequently encounter stigma as a barrier to accessing and engaging in care. Moreover, these treatment rates have not changed significantly over the past decade despite further development of pharmacotherapies, increased federal funding support (primarily driven by the opioid epidemic), and other efforts and policy changes aimed at expanding treatments. With steady increases in overdose deaths in the United States over the past 20 years, the need to further reduce barriers to care for individuals with substance use disorders is urgent to ensure equal access to treatment across geography, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

This collection highlights current research efforts, which have focused on developing interventions to reduce stigma and increase treatment engagement for individuals with substance use disorders. The articles include surveys of attitudes toward individuals with these disorders, interventions to reduce stigma, policy impacting stigma toward substance use disorders, and disparities in service utilization. New research and opinion pieces are encouraged that explore the stigmatization of addiction and evidence-based interventions to reduce stigma.

Please note that not all articles in this curated collection are available without a subscription. For access, learn about subscribing to Psychiatric Services.


Stigma, Discrimination, Treatment Effectiveness, and Policy: Public Views About Drug Addiction and Mental Illness
Colleen L. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.P., Emma E. McGinty, Ph.D., M.S., Bernice A. Pescosolido, Howard H. Goldman, M.D., Ph.D.
2014; Volume 65, Issue 10, pp. 1269–1272

Rural-Urban Differences in Physician Bias Toward Patients With Opioid Use Disorder
Berkeley Franz, Ph.D., M.A., Lindsay Y. Dhanani, Ph.D., William C. Miller, M.D., Ph.D.
Epub ahead of print, February 24, 2021

Correlates of Patient-Centered Care Practices at U.S. Substance Use Disorder Clinics
Sunggeun Park, Ph.D., Colleen M. Grogan, Ph.D., Jennifer E. Mosley, Ph.D., Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., Harold A. Pollack, Ph.D., Peter D. Friedmann, M.D., M.P.H.
2019; Volume 71, Issue 1, pp. 35-42

Social Stigma Toward Persons With Prescription Opioid Use Disorder: Associations With Public Support for Punitive and Public Health–Oriented Policies
Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Ph.D., Colleen L. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.P., Sarah E. Gollust, Ph.D., Margaret E. Ensminger, Ph.D., Margaret S. Chisolm, M.D., Emma E. McGinty, Ph.D., M.S.
2017; Volume 68, Issue 5, pp. 462-469

A Research Agenda to Advance the Coordination of Care for General Medical and Substance Use Disorders
Amity E. Quinn, Ph.D., Anna D. Rubinsky, Ph.D., M.S., Anne C. Fernandez, Ph.D., Hyeouk Chris Hahm, M.S.S.W., Ph.D., Jeffrey H. Samet, M.D., M.P.H.
2017; Volume 68, Issue 4, pp. 400-404

Perceived Barriers to Treatment for Alcohol Problems: A Latent Class Analysis
Megan S. Schuler, Ph.D., Savitha Puttaiah, M.D., Ramin Mojtabai, M.D.,Ph.D., Rosa M. Crum, M.D., M.H.S.
2015; Volume 66, Issue 11, 1221-1228

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Substance Abuse Service Needs, Utilization, and Outcomes in California
Noosha Niv, Ph.D., Rhoda Pham, B.S., Yih-Ing Hser, Ph.D.
2009; Volume 60, Issue 10, pp. 1350-1356

“Recovery Speaks”: A Photovoice Intervention to Reduce Stigma Among Primary Care Providers
Elizabeth H. Flanagan, Ph.D., Tona Buck, Alfred Gamble, Cynthia Hunter, Ira Sewell, Larry Davidson, Ph.D.
2016; Volume 67, Issue 5, pp. 566-569

Communication Strategies to Counter Stigma and Improve Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorder Policy
Emma McGinty, Ph.D., M.S., Bernice Pescosolido, Ph.D., Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Ph.D., Colleen L. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.P.
2018; Volume 69, Issue 2, pp. 136-146

Peer- and Mentor-Enhanced Web-Based Training on Substance Use Disorders: A Promising Approach in Low-Resource Settings
Veronic Clair, M.D., Ph.D., Verena Rossa-Roccor, M.D., M.Sc., Aggrey G. Mokaya, B.Sc., P.G.Dip., Victoria Mutiso, M.Sc., Ph.D., Abednego Musau, M.B.ChB., M.P.H., Albert Tele, M.Sc., David M. Ndetei, M.D., D.Sc., Erica Frank, M.D., M.P.H.
2019; Volume 70, Issue 11, pp. 1068-1071

Responding to the Opioid Crisis: Lessons From a Review of Casualties
Aimee N. C. Campbell, Ph.D., Arthur Robin Williams, M.D., M.B.E., Edward V. Nunes, M.D.
2019; Volume 70, Issue 2, pp. 89

Private Coverage of Methadone in Outpatient Treatment Programs
Daniel Polsky, Ph.D., Samantha Arsenault, M.A., Francisca Azocar, Ph.D.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 3, pp. 303-306

A State Financial Incentive Policy to Improve Emergency Department Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: A Qualitative Study
Austin S. Kilaru, M.D., M.S.H.P., Su Fen Lubitz, M.P.H., Jessica Davis, B.A., Whitney Eriksen, Ph.D., Sari Siegel, Ph.D., David Kelley, M.D., Jeanmarie Perrone, M.D., and Zachary F. Meisel, M.D., M.P.H.
Epub ahead of print, May 17, 2021

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