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Change your language

“Words have the power to build up or destroy a person. We can be part of the solution.”

Marissa Angerer
Mother, Friend, Lawyer, Person in Recovery

Words shape how we view people and how we treat them.

Changing our language improves outcomes for those struggling with addiction.

Choose supportive, nonjudgmental words that treat people with respect and compassion.

Instead of this… Say this*

Abuse

Drug problem/habit

  1. Substance Use Disorder (SUD), addiction (if clinically accurate)
  2. Use (for illicit drugs); misuse, (for prescription drugs)

Addict

Druggie/Drug Abuser

Junkie

  • Person with a SUD (person with OUD if relevant)
  • Patient with a SUD (if in a clinical setting)

Addicted to [ x ]

Has a [ x ] use disorder

Clean or Stayed clean

Substance-free

* Remember not to tell those who have experience with addiction how to talk about their own story.

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We lost too many people last year.

There were more than 93,000 fatal overdoses in 2020. We need your help to end the addiction crisis.

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