IMPROVING COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH INCLUSION OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES IN RECOVERY ADVOCACY EFFORTS

IMPROVING COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH INCLUSION OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES IN RECOVERY ADVOCACY EFFORTS

Angelo Lagares, Founder, Latino Recovery Advocates Certificate Recovery Specialist Bilingual Resource Specialist NCRC-I

Posted in: Race, Ethnicity & Culture
Language matters. It’s a phrase often spoken among recovery advocates, and generally refers to shifting the way we speak about addiction and recovery so that we reduce the stigma surrounding substance use disorders. There is evidence behind the movement, with one study noting that even mental health professionals were more likely to favor punitive over therapeutic measures if a case history referred to a patient as a “substance abuser” instead of a person with a “substance use disorder”.1 The conversation about “people first” language is an important dialogue to have, as stigmatizing words can foster an environment that is hostile to treatment and recovery. It is vital that we shift the language so that shame ceases to be a barrier to those seeking help. Furthermore, we must ensure that recovery messaging is carried to ALL who need to hear it. Too often, minority populations are left out of the conversation.