“I have witnessed members of my immediate family treated like second-class citizens time and time again as a result of their battle with addiction and mental illness. The mere mention of being in a recovery program or being prescribed antipsychotic medication often elicits eye-rolls, scoffs, and the implication that those who have struggled with these conditions are the dregs of society.
Additionally, I have regularly endured the ignorance of many who believe that those with substance use disorders have forfeited their right to life, and should be left to perish in the event of an overdose. It hurts to hear and read these sentiments. If this were the prevailing ideology, people I love would be deceased. Good people. People who are actively trying to better themselves. Substance use disorders are a health problem, not a capital offense.
Given how quickly much of the public is able to dehumanize their fellow person, it is no wonder that many choose to suffer in silence. We need to continue shifting the paradigm governing the public perception of substance use disorders away from immorality and toward health and wellness. I hope that campaigns like Talk On can begin to chip away at some of these antiquated, draconian beliefs.
Sharing your experiences can help empower others to open up about their own personal struggles. I think an open dialogue is key to reducing and ultimately eliminating the stigma attached to mental illness and substance use disorders. Being comfortable in your own skin shouldn't be taboo.”