Rep. Dean introduces legislation to end stigma of illegal drug use

Rep. Dean introduces legislation to end stigma of illegal drug use

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) introduced legislation designed to educate college students on substance use disorder treatment and end the stigma of illicit drug use.

The legislation, Education for New Dispositions on Stigma (END Stigma) Act, would establish a university grant program to educate students suffering from substance use disorder on treatment options while working to reduce the stigma surrounding substance use disorder.

“Substance use disorder is a disease that impacts almost every family I know, yet there is so much stigma attached to this illness,” said Rep. Dean. “We need to start looking at this issue as the disease that it is. Once we can eliminate the stigma for those struggling with substance use disorder, we can focus on treatment and recovery.”

According to the Recovery Research Institute, “Illicit drug use disorder is the most stigmatized health condition in the world.” The Institute cited a survey of 314 individuals where participants felt that individuals labeled “substance abuser,” as opposed to “having substance use disorder,” were less likely to benefit from treatment, more likely to benefit from punishment, and more likely to be blamed for their substance related difficulties, as well as more able to control their substance use without help.

Grantees would be given $100,000 or less that will last three years.

Dean previously introduced the END Stigma Act in October 2020 and then referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.