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Addiction and ChoiceRethinking the relationship$
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Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.001.0001

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How a stigmatic structure enslaves addicts

How a stigmatic structure enslaves addicts

Chapter:
(p.409) Chapter 22 How a stigmatic structure enslaves addicts
Source:
Addiction and Choice
Author(s):

Beth Burgess

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.003.0022

To tackle addiction effectively, society must confront stigma against addicts, which pervades at both an individual and an administrative level, and which reinforces addiction rather than resolves it. This chapter illustrates how addiction may stem from a wider problem: a “vicious cycle of suffering” fed by socioeconomic factors. The chapter argues that discriminatory attitudes and punitive policies are short-sighted and paradoxical, since they make it harder for addicted people to return to society as healed and contributing individuals, and that current practices also fail to break the wider cycle and prevent addiction from ever taking root. The author asserts that society should be held, in part, accountable for an addict’s choices, and that responsibility for recovery and prevention should be shared between the individual and the system that has hitherto judged, rather than helped, people who have usually been exceedingly vulnerable throughout their entire lives.

Keywords:   stigma towards addicts, cycle of suffering, socioeconomic factors, recovery, prevention

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