It’s with stigma that we’ll begin about MOUD, the masses’ greatest sin - we must educate to turn the tide, move the skeptics to our side.
The dictionary definition of stigma is: “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”. Sadly, one of the most common remarks from a patient entering treatment is: “How long do I have to stay on this medication?” or “I hear this medication damages your liver, bones, and is harder to get off than heroin”. To illustrate the compounding problem of stigma, I often hear similar statements from doctors or other healthcare professionals that should know better. The first big hurdle our treatment staff must overcome is to effectively respond to the issue of stigma.
When funding and access to treatment was much more limited than today, the problem of stigma was even greater. Today, we can at least offer treatment on demand and almost always find a funding source that is either no cost or a manageable cost to the patient.
Patients who are not affected by, or have learned to overcome stigma, almost always express something similar to, “If I had known about this treatment 20 years ago, my life would have been so much better”. Many times I have had patients tell me, “doc, I can’t thank you enough for your program and what it has done for me”.