Responding to Addictions and Substance Use Disorder

IU's Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenge teams also:

  • created certificate and master's degree programs in Addictions Counseling that will help students entering the mental health professions recognize and respond to addiction
  • launched a group counseling program for college-aged people who identify as being in recovery for a substance use disorder

Understanding and reducing stigma

IU researchers are exploring the complexities of addictions and substance use disorder broadly, including studying the public stigma around opioid addiction, which discourages people with opioid use disorder from seeking care and treatment.

An IU study found that a majority of Americans are more willing to coerce people with opioid use disorder into treatment and perceive them as less capable and likely to be violent toward others. Nearly half of Americans are unwilling to have a person with opioid use disorder move next door to them, and 73 percent of Americans are unwilling to have such a person marry into their family, while 76 percent would not want to work closely with such a person on the job.

This data offers important insights into how to approach the enduring problem of public stigma around opioid addiction, including replacing a focus on addiction as a brain disease with a focus on sharing stories of people with opioid use disorder who are fighting against a serious condition and have real prospect for remission.

The study was conducted by Brea Perry, professor of sociology at IU Bloomington, and Bernice Pescosolido, Distinguished Professor of sociology at IU Bloomington.