Addiction is complicated, and so is the media coverage that comes along with it.
America’s surge in opioid-related overdose deaths has resulted in daily news stories investigating the crisis and its impact. Media coverage of this issue is important and necessary—but unfortunately, many of these stories often include stigmatized language, outdated stereotypes, or harmful misinformation that contributes to the deadly stigma of addiction.
News outlets want to get it right, and experts in the field want to help. That’s why Shatterproof is excited to be a part of Changing the Narrative, a coalition of reporters, scientists, and advocates who are passionate about accurate, compassionate, and science-based information about addiction. Today, the group launched a brand new media toolkit aimed at educating and empowering those who cover addiction with the science-based, fact-checked information they need in order to tell these stories right.
The toolkit also features a directory of helpful sources for addiction news stories, from subject matter experts to people with lived experience of addiction. Shatterproof’s Sam Arsenault, Director of National Treatment Quality Initiatives, is featured as an expert resource who can speak to the addiction treatment system, gaps in coverage, and broader health care policy.
The public needs to understand that addiction is not a moral failure—it’s a medical illness, and it can be effectively treated. When the media focuses on these facts and reports on addiction with compassionate care, hearts and minds can change. With a better public understanding of addiction, we can increase treatment access and save countess lives.
Shatterproof is proud to be a part of this important movement to change the way the media informs the public about addiction. Check out the toolkit here.