Tempering Terminology

Babies cannot be born “addicted”—and labeling them so feeds into stigma that can deter pregnant mothers from seeking care, writes Eduardo R. Martínez-Montes of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Babies with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, whose mothers used addictive opiate drugs during pregnancy, “cannot exhibit the uncontrollable, compulsive drug use that defines an addiction,” he explains.
Martínez-Montes traces the confusion surrounding terminology to discuss these issues, and says that while our words will continue to evolve, recognizing that words matter is critically important to correct biases and hinder treatment.

Bloomberg American Health Initiative

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