You may not even realize it, but there is stigma toward people with substance use disorders (SUD)…. and this can harm them!

The words and attitudes that we use in our everyday interactions influence how people feel about themselves and how others treat them. These words hurt and cause shame, resistance to treatment, and poor health outcomes for people with addictions or who are in recovery.

You may not even realize it, but there is stigma toward people with substance use disorders (SUD), and this can harm them! Stigma keeps people from reaching out for helping, getting treatment, and sharing their experiences with other people.

Sometimes we may use stigmatizing language and not even realize we’re doing it. Words matter. Try some of the replacements listed below.

An RRW acknowledges and openly addresses the topic of drug and alcohol misuse. This includes:
• Communicating about these issues in a nonjudgemental and honest way to reduce stigma.
• Encouraging employees to discuss substance use concerns and recovery successes in a non-punative setting.
An RRW educates employees and customers about the disease of addiction and treatment resources and options. This includes:
• Training employees on substance use disorders and how stigma in the workplace can affect recovery.
• Preparing supervisors and managers to approach and respond to substance use concerns.
• Providing resources to and access to recovery support services for employees and their families.
An RRW offers policies and practices that support employees who have been impacted by addiction and substance use. This includes:
• Prioritizing safety and well-being.
• Offering supportive policies and accomodations.
• Rethinking hiring standards around gaps in employment, addiction-related justice history, and other considerations.
An RRW prioritize safety by preventing employee exposure to unsafe conditions that could cause injury or illness that contribute to the development or recurrance of SUD.
This includes:
• Observing the highest standards for workplace safety.
• Ensuring the workplace is an emotionally and socially safe and healthy environment for staff.
An RRW improve access to recovery supports by lowering barriers to seeking care for addiction, receiving care for addiction, and maintaining recovery. This requires and open and honest environment where people can ask for help, benefits and policies that allow people to get the highest quality help available for themselves and their family members, and flexibility and support to help people stay well.

Are You Interested in Becoming a Recovery Ready Workplace?

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