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Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

Survey: Addiction Touches Many Lives

Many Want to Eliminate Stigma Against People in Addiction Recovery
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WebMD Health News

May 14, 2004 -- More than two-thirds of American families have been touched by addiction -- either with alcohol or drugs, a new national survey shows. Yet a strong stigma still exists against people in addiction recovery.

Faces and Voices Recovery Campaign released the telephone survey today. It's the first comprehensive study looking at America's attitudes toward these issues. The survey involved 801 adults across the country, all randomly selected.

Americans' experience with addiction "is widespread, with people from all walks of life affected by addiction," surveyors found. Also, they found that a strong stigma exists -- even toward people who have made a successful, long-term addiction recovery.

Among the specific findings:

  • 63% say that addiction to alcohol or other drugs has had a significant or some impact on their lives.
  • Two-thirds (67%) say that a stigma exists toward people in addiction recovery.
  • 74% say that when people are ashamed to talk about their own or a family member's addiction, the attitude must change.
  • 27% admit they would be less likely to hire an otherwise qualified job applicant just because that person was in long-term recovery.

However, results showed that most people (65%) say that discrimination against people in addiction recovery should change.

The survey showed that an overwhelming majority say that discrimination against someone in recovery is a problem. Three-quarters said that denial of medical, life, and other insurance coverage was a problem. Researchers found that only 28% of those surveyed thought it was acceptable for people seeking help for addiction to pay higher health insurance premiums and co-pays than people who seek help for other diseases. The majority said that this should change.

SOURCE: Survey, Faces and Voices of Recovery Public Campaign.

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