Why small changes to the language around addiction are so enormously important

published on February 9, 2020 by Laura MacKinnon in CBC News

One of my patients recently refused to go to the hospital for a life-threatening infection, stating “I don’t want to go to [this hospital] because they treat me like I’m just an addict there.”

She is a loving mother of four and proud grandparent of three. She is a resilient survivor of intimate physical violence, and currently employed as a peer support worker, helping others in her community prioritize their mental and physical health. And she developed an opioid use disorder after she suffered an accident and was prescribed opioids for chronic pain.

I’m a family doctor who works primarily in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a vibrant neighbourhood that is notorious for high rates of poverty, drug use, and mental illness. And I’ve learned that language carries a lot of weight…

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