Drug-Free N.J. “Squashes the Stigma”

Drug-Free N.J. “Squashes the Stigma”

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Eradicating the stigma of addiction was the goal of hundreds of participants in the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s #SquashTheStigma initiative.

The online campaign reached over 150,000 people across the state and country, informing them of the harmful effects of stigma and the need to break through this barrier.

Hundreds of advocates participated by filling up a few balloons with water, writing stigmatizing words or beliefs on each balloon in marker, and then recording themselves squashing the balloons on the ground. In their videos, they nominated three people to complete the challenge within the next 48 hours and then posted it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SquashTheStigma.

“Stigma is one of the greatest barriers we face when it comes to the disease of addiction.” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “Stigmatizing words and labels damage a person’s self-esteem, their relationships with loved ones, and also prevent those suffering from substance use disorder from accessing treatment.”

“If we want to resolve the addiction crisis in New Jersey we must address and eliminate this pervasive stigma,” said Valente. “Doing so requires us to become more consciously aware of the language we use when we are speaking about substance use disorder and those who are affected by it.”

Some examples of individuals and groups who participated in the challenge are available below:

• Recovery Centers of America

• Coalition For Healthy and Safe Communities

• Prevention Links

• Pinnacle Treatment Centers

• Seabrook Rehab

• Hudson County Coalition

• Complete HealthCare Network

• Bergen County Prevention Coalition

• King’s Crusade

• Garfield Epic

• Daytop New Jersey

• Turning Point New Jersey