Eliminating Stigma Starts with the Voice of the Addict


If you sit in a court of law, you will be reminded that the defendant(s) is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Those who either plead or are proven guilty of drug or alcohol offenses are typically required to attend drug or alcohol awareness programs as part of their sentence. The guilty party may have been unlucky, profiled, or may actually have a serious issue; the disease of addiction.

I know how things work in court, but what happens in court-mandated drug and alcohol awareness programs? I wanted to know. So, I went to one, hoping to find that positive change is possible even when the treatment is mandatory. For this research, I took a seat in the waiting room of my county drug awareness program.

The first person to enter the office was a young man, maybe 26-years old. As he attempted to sign-in the receptionist told him, loud enough for…

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