The stigma of adolescent addiction


Many studies have found that substance use disorders are more highly stigmatised than other health conditions. Substance use disorders are even seen as moral and criminal issues, rather than a health concern. Adolescents with substance use problems are viewed more negatively because people feel that they are the ones who decide to abuse substances. A significant portion of adolescents who need treatment do not receive the care they need due to perceived stigma. Through greater awareness of current barriers, including stigma, we would be better equipped to support adolescents and their families who all may benefit from addictions services.

“Teens who struggle with drugs or alcohol face countless forms of addiction stigma every day, often causing them to feel at odds with themselves and the world around them. Additionally, the threat of societal judgment prevents many teens from getting the help they need to recover.”