It Wasn‘t Addiction That Killed Prince; It Was America’s Stigmas About Addiction

Submission Date: June 2nd, 2016
Attributing Author: Joanna Starrels
Source:  ALTERNET( http://www3.alternet.org)

We need to reject the faulty premise that addiction is a shameful moral failing that should be hidden.

Opioid addiction and overdose are preventable and treatable. The missed opportunities that could have prevented Prince’s death are astounding, and sadly, not surprising. In all the talk about the overdose crisis in this country, there has been scant attention to one of the biggest killers – stigma. Stigma about addiction led to Prince’s death, just like stigma leads to others’ deaths every single day.

Why didn’t Prince, or the people around him, acknowledge his addiction and seek care earlier?  In countless stories of fatal overdoses, we have learned that individuals and families affected by addiction have refused to acknowledge addiction. Whether they are trying to avoid tarnishing their reputations, protect their privacy, or never knew their loved one had an addiction, stigma is to blame. Imagine if we accepted addiction as we do other medical conditions. Do individuals with diabetes or their family members hide the disease? Would those with diabetes avoid treatment, putting themselves at risk for fatally high or low blood sugar?

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