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5 Fears That Keep You From Getting Alcohol and Drug Treatment

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Police in small towns in Ohio and Massachusetts may have started a trend: releasing photos of unconscious drug addicts, to dramatically show the public what officers encounter on a daily basis as opioid abuse explodes across America. The photos of a man and woman passed out in the front seat of an SUV in East Liverpool, Ohio, and video of a woman lying on the floor of a discount store in Lawrence, Mass., being prodded by a terrified child, have gone viral and brought the hard reality of addiction home to millions who’ve never imagined its real life impact.
But is that a good idea? Experts in drug addiction and policing said it is not, that it merely shames the user and adds stigma to those suffering from a disease, though they understood the frustration of first responders who should not have to shoulder the burden of an erupting public health crisis.
“What helps is helping people get help,” said Patty McCarthy Metcalf of Faces & Voices of Recovery in Washington, D.C., a national advocacy group for addiction treatment and recovery. “Helping people see they can recover. What doesn’t work is public shaming. It just reinforces the negative public perception we’re trying to eliminate. Stigma is one of the major reasons people don’t get help when they need it.”

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