By Staff Writer
Addiction still carries a stigma that can interfere with a drug user’s ability to seek help from rehab programs, but some experts say that these challenges can be overcome by dispelling the myths and stereotypes that surround the addicts.
Pamela Shepherd, a coordinator of the Coweta County Drug Court program in Georgia, told the Newman Times-Herald that when most people picture a drug user, they see someone who is something of a societal outcast. The prevalent image is of someone who is unemployed, likely an ethnic minority and has a disheveled appearance.
However, Shepherd told the news source that addicts come from all walks of life. Regardless of an individual’s race, professional status, appearance or personality, they are at risk of becoming a drug addict. In her profession, Shepherd said that she has seen nurses, teachers and soccer moms struggle with chemical dependency.
Moving society past these misconceptions about drug use could play an important role in helping those who need addiction treatment access the care they need. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that stigmas can be the greatest barriers to an addict seeking therapy.