<h1>What is a Stigma and why fight it?</h1>
A stigma is a stain, a mark of disgrace perpetrated by a society or group with regards to an individual or group of individuals. There are of course many forms of stigma based on different factors; as humans we generally look for patterns and it is easy to label someone based on a pattern we believe to be true. Stigma can be passed on from one generation to the next, the saying <i>the apple never falls far from the tree</i> comes to mind. The son or daughter of a criminal or an addict may carry a stigma as do many people who have suffered addiction.
The worst thing about stigma is that it often makes it much harder for people to recover and form part of the group or society that places the label upon them. This can often cause a loop of relapse and is counter productive in improving the overall well-being of the community.
<h2>Reasons to fight the stigma of addiction</h2>
There are a number of reasons why we should fight the stigma of addiction and here are a few of the biggest ones.
<li>Conditions and issues don’t get the attention they deserve</li>
<li>Incorrect bias can blind even the most professional practitioners</li>
<li>Public perception drives politics and politics drives policy</li>
<li>Shame can stop people from seeking the treatment and help they need</li>
<li>The judicial system cannot and should not be driven by perception</li>
<li>Stigma can lead to loss of friends and family which in turn removes a person’s support network making recovery much harder</li>
<li>Stigma makes it hard for people to re-enter the workforce making it near impossible for them to be independent contributing members of society</li>