This ninth episode of the National Institute of Justice’s NIJ’s Just Science podcast series is an interview with Clarence Jordan, the Vice President of Wellness and Recovery at Beacon Health Options, who discusses the stigma of substance abuse disorder and its impact on programs designed to treat those with substance-use disorder, as well as its influence on individual outcomes.
Background information on the interview notes the stigma that accompanies being addicted to drugs. Clarence Jordan and his team at Beacon Health Option improve their efforts to promote recovery principles and behavioral health services through community education and community engagement. In this interview, he discusses peer support games, stigma as a barrier to mental health treatment, and the role of community education in de-stigmatizing substance abuse disorder. Because of the stigma of being labeled a substance abuser, which may also involve mental health issues, another stigma, those who need treatment are reluctant to initiate or remain in treatment because of the risk of adverse social and employment consequences. Jordan advocates for peer support groups as part of treatment, because they provide new participants interaction with persons who share their positive experiences due to treatment for substance abuse. He indicates that community education facilitates a broader understanding of the nature and causes of substance abuse, the importance of treatment, and the benefits of community support for those who need treatment.