Stigma-Busting Summit

Little Rock sign by the Arkansas River Walk
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Little Rock sign by the Arkansas River Walk

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas—Reducing stigma and recognizing addiction as a disease are key to combatting the opioid epidemic sweeping the US, participants said at yesterday’s Clinton Foundation Health Matters Annual Activation Summit.
As participant Nate Keller, MD, noted, it’s the only disease in which it is illegal to be sick. Tackling the stigma means changing our language—referring to people as “clean” or “dirty” perpetuates negatives stereotypes, for example.
That will take support from policymakers who, in turn, need the backing of health care professionals. Arkansas State Senator Joyce Elliott added, “I need the medical professionals to step up and be a part of policy ... because we need you."—Dayna Kerecman Myers

A Boost for Colleges
Fighting stigma also means helping people struggling with substance abuse gain access to the tools they need to get better. Toward that goal, the Clinton Foundation, in partnership with Adapt Pharma, announced an important step yesterday toward helping students get naloxone treatment, the Washington Post reported.
Under their new partnership, colleges will receive 40,000 free doses of NARCAN nasal spray, FDA-approved and simple enough for people with no medical training to administer. That’s key, explained Alex Chan, director of national health for the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, because most overdoses don’t happen in hospitals, according to the Post.

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