Study: Public feels more negative toward people with drug addiction than those with mental illness

According to new research out of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, people are significantly more likely to have negative attitudes toward those suffering from drug addiction than those with mental illness; further, people don’t generally support insurance, housing, and employment policies that benefit those dependent on drugs.  According to study leader Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP, “While drug addiction and mental illness are both chronic, treatable health conditions, the American public is more likely to think of addiction as a moral failing than a medical condition. […] In recent years, it has become more socially acceptable to talk publicly about one’s struggles with mental illness. But with addiction, the feeling is that the addict is a bad or weak person, especially because much drug use is illegal.”

“Stigma, Discrimination, Treatment Effectiveness, and Policy: Public Views About Drug Addiction and Mental Illness” was written by Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP; Emma E. McGinty, PHD, MS; Bernice A. Pescosolido, PhD; and Howard H. Goldman, MD, PhD.


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