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Public Perception of Opium Addicts

Public Perception of Opium AddictsMost Americans are aware that addiction is a prevalent and growing problem, but their awareness often ends there. Addiction and addicts are misunderstood by many, and public perception often increases this stigma rather than encouraging support and understanding. Opium addiction and addiction to opium-related drugs, such as heroin and many prescription painkillers, is a disease. Until it is acknowledged as such, public perception makes recognizing and accepting the need for help a challenge.

Viewing Opium Addiction as a Moral Weakness

One of the most pervasive and harmful public perceptions about opium addiction is that addiction is a sign of moral weakness. As the Institute of Medicine explains in Dispelling the Myths of Addiction, the public tends to view addicts as “immoral, weak-willed, or as having a character defect requiring punishment or incarceration.” This view of addiction does not encourage individuals to open up about their struggles with opium or opiates and only strengthens the denial that accompanies most addictions. The Institute of Medicine further explains that viewing addiction as an issue of morality, rather than a disease with physical, psychological, and social components, “keeps some afflicted individuals from getting help for themselves and often prevents family, friends, and employers from acknowledging the existence of a problem and urging a loved one or colleague to seek treatment.” Addicts will go to great lengths to hide their substance use and addiction and avoid having stereotypes about addicts applied to them. This denial, avoidance, and secrecy allows the problem to continue and strengthen while causing users to withdraw and feel increasingly isolated from non-drug using friends and family.

Public Perception and Opium Addiction Treatment

Public perception, misconception, and stigmas have a direct effect on how opium addicts feel and behave, and public perception also impacts their recovery. The Institute of Medicine explains that negative public perceptions about addiction influence recovery professionals as “stigma associated with drug addiction has directly deterred young investigators who might otherwise be interested in pursuing careers in addiction research and treatment.” Addiction researchers and treatment professionals have often been relegated to a lower social tier among peers in various medical professions, and this reduces the willingness of individuals to enter the field.

Opium Addiction Treatment

Although public perception influences opium addiction and recovery, it is not too late to look past stigmas and misconceptions and find the professionals willing to dedicate their lives to helping others find wellness. Call our toll-free helpline to speak with one such dedicated professional and gain access to the best treatment recovery resources. We are here 24 hours a day, so there is no wrong time to call and get help.