Shatterproof supports addressing the Stigma of Addiction as a Catalyst for Achieving the Strategy


Norwalk, CTShatterproof commends the Biden administration for its national strategy to address the nation’s addiction epidemic which needs an urgent response.  With overdose numbers at an all-time high of more than 100,000 deaths in one year, it is now more imperative than ever to offer accessible solutions, remove barriers to those seeking treatment and have a clear call to action. Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicating to reversing the addiction crisis, has highlighted critical policy opportunities that should be enacted as soon as possible.

“There are many critical priorities in the strategy that will save lives.  Judiciously, it identifies stigma as a cross-cutting concern that needs to be addressed as a nation to truly catalyze this plan to achieve the necessary objectives,” said Shatterproof Founder & CEO, Gary Mendell. “We know that there are nine drivers of the opioid epidemic and seven of them are rooted in stigma. Shame, fear and stigma are keeping our loved ones from seeking help, casting judgement in the medical setting or workplace and keeping millions of families in the shadows. This is a major public health crisis of a chronic disease that was aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is time that as a nation we unite and support everyone we know impacted by this disease with compassion and evidence-based treatment and recovery to solutions that will not help only help millions of our loved ones today, but also for generations to come.”

Key elements of the strategy that have metrics to drive and assess improvement and align with Shatterproof evidence-based approaches include:

  • Focus on saving lives by reducing overdose deaths by enacting increased access to high-impact harm reduction services, particularly those aimed at reducing the impact of fentanyl and other harms from substance use. This means greater access to naloxone, which can reverse an overdose.
  • Greater emphasis on prevention efforts as adolescence is a critical risk period for substance use initiation and adverse outcomes related to substance use.  These efforts are vital to prevent and/or delay the first use of substances. Prevention is not only proven to be effective but is also a cost-effective approach to prevent later substance use disorder issues from developing.
  • Increase primary care screenings and interventions which can be done by integrating care for mental health and substance use disorder into the primary care setting (the Collaborative Care Model). We are active in many states encouraging them to cover the Collaborative Care Model codes in their Medicaid plans and it is our goal for every state to do this.
  • Focus on removing barriers to treatment and access to high quality, evidence-based treatment, which is a core mission focus of Shatterproof. The National Principles of Care and the ATLAS platform set guidance for what quality care should look like for patients.
  • Support training and education to grow the treatment workforce and reduce stigma.
  • Work with medical and nursing schools on a core curriculum so that all professionals have basic knowledge of substance use disorder. Shatterproof has been advocating for this on an on-going basis and has worked closely with ASAM and the AMA to expand training opportunities.
  • Improving data and information sharing across all levels of government to reduce the supply of illicit drugs, especially fentanyl, and inform prevention and interdiction strategies and disrupting trafficking of synthetic drugs, like fentanyl
  • Expanding medication for opioid use disorder access for criminal justice system and re-entry programs.

Shatterproof offers free life-saving tools on our website, at our Find Help section, where individuals or loved ones can determine if it is time to seek treatment, the different types of treatment available, what level of care is needed, identifying the right treatment provider based on quality metrics, how to pay for treatment and support available as you or your loved one walks through this overwhelming time. We also provide easily understandable facts about addiction in our Learn section where people can easily gain a basic understanding of addiction basics, treatment, prevention, harm reduction and recovery.

Learn about our initiatives to reduce and ultimately end stigma here.

For further details or to speak with Kevin Roy, Chief Policy Officer please contact Holly Jespersen at 646-334-1024.



About Shatterproof:
Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the United States. Shatterproof harnesses the models of business, the rigor of science and the power of a national movement to create change and save lives through three pillars of work: revolutionizing the addiction treatment system, breaking down addiction-related stigmas and supporting and empowering our communities. To learn more visit

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