Digital Media Center
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gate 61
920 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0370
(800) 654-4262

© 2023 Alabama Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Alabama event aims to prevent stigmatizing the addicted

medicines-g1029643a7_1920.jpg
Pixabay
/

A multi-day conference seeking to reduce the stigma around substance abuse disorders takes place across Alabama this week. Today’s Stop Judging: Start Healing’s summit stop is in Mobile. The event is an effort of a group known as VitAL*. The initiative aims to help friends, family and medical professionals speak more effectively about people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Dr. Ellen Robertson is the Project Director for VitAL. She says particular language can harm those suffering from substance use disorders.

“The purpose is to try to educate and train professionals, across the state of Alabama, in the health care profession and criminal justice profession around the stigma that is associated with those who abuse substances.”

The group VitAL aims to help friends, family and medical professionals speak more effectively about people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The summit’s organizers believe that language can harm those suffering from substance use disorders. The statewide campaign will also include television, social media, and radio messages to convince people to refer to the addicted as people. Robertson explains why important to learn about the stigma.

“We can serve the population of Alabama more effectively, and more efficiently. And hopefully have more people try to access treatment, because some people may not feel comfortable accessing treatment because of the stigma associated with it.”

The summit runs through Thursday with stops in Prattville and Birmingham.

Valentina Mora is a student intern at the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She is an international student from Colombia at The University of Alabama. She is majoring in Communicative Disorders and Foreign Languages and Literature. She is part of the Blount Scholars Program and is also pursuing a minor in Music. Although she is not studying to become a journalist, Valentina enjoys reporting, interviewing and writing stories.
News from Alabama Public Radio is a public service in association with the University of Alabama. We depend on your help to keep our programming on the air and online. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.