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SOAR Seeks to End the Stigma of "Abuse"


March 1995

An organization representing drug and alcohol addicts in recovery, and drug treatment professionals, is seeking to end the use of the words "drug abuse" when referring to people who are dealing with substance addictions ("Recovery Advocacy Group Takes Aim At Language Used in Drug Field," National Report on Substance Abuse, Feb. 16, 1995, p. 7).

Executive Director Martha Rothenberg told NewsBriefs that the purpose of The Society of Americans for Recovery (SOAR) is to "do battle with the stigma" that people recovering from a substance addiction face. Part of that battle, Rothenberg said, is to fight the stigmatizing words popularly used to refer to addiction and "'abuse' is inherently stigmatizing."

The SOAR board of directors addressed this issue at their national meeting Jan. 13-15 at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California.

"We'd like to eliminate the term 'substance abuse' from the public's vocabulary. It's a pejorative -- and simply incorrect -- way of referring to people suffering from a life-threatening disease, and it pervades the entire prevention and treatment system," said Policy Council Chair Dan Duncan of St. Louis, Missouri.

SOAR is a grassroots organization for those in the recovery community and their families. The organization is working in the areas of access to treatment, insurance, civil rights, health care, and employment.

[For more information about SOAR, contact Martha Rothenberg at 1317 F Street, NW, Suite 5000, Washington, DC, 20004, 202-347-4257.]