CAT picked for ‘groundbreaking’ pilot to combat addiction stigma

Center for Addiction Treatment earned selection to take part in Addiction Policy Forum’s national Anti-Stigma Initiative Pilot Program.

CAT is receiving tools to combat discrimination and prejudice related to addiction. A key component is training. Staff will receive instruction on identifying addiction stigma and increasing community knowledge about the disease of addiction. They’ll also tackle new approaches for improving individuals’ interactions with those who struggle with a substance-use disorder.

There are 111 program launch sites across the United States. CAT is one of two organizations from Ohio taking part.

Center for Addiction Treatment

“I believe the Anti-Stigma program will open doors that have been locked,” said Keith Woods, CAT’s outpatient case manager. “This will be the key to new opportunities and relationships that might not have come to pass without the knowledge that would be shared.”

Reducing stigma to increase options for help

Data from Addiction Policy Forum shows that more than 20 million people in the United States struggle with substance-use disorders, or SUDS. The organization noted that addiction often prevents those with SUDs from reaching out for help out of fear being judgement.

Recent research shows that more than 80% of Americans are unwilling to associate with those suffering from SUDs, per the Addiction Policy Forum.

“Stigma also leads to discrimination in a variety of settings, including health care, criminal justice, employment, child custody, and housing, and creates barriers to accessing evidence-informed treatment and harm reduction services,” Addiction Policy Forum wrote in a release. “The public and many professionals continue to view SUDs as a moral failing, which reinforces discriminatory policies and practices and further isolates and deters those struggling from seeking help.”

Any city, county, tribe, agency or organization in the U.S. can apply to become a pilot site at no cost. Each applicant must test one of two stigma interventions with not less than 50 participants. Pilot sites will also disseminate a stigma survey and collect responses from 50 individuals.

Keith Woods

Sites will also select a program facilitator to support the successful completion of the projects. Woods is that person for CAT.

Woods called the program “groundbreaking” and key to the CAT’s longstanding efforts to reduce stigma in Greater Cincinnati. Started in 1970, CAT provides affordable treatment for those impacted by the disease of addiction to drugs, alcohol and/or gambling. Its individualized care model includes medically monitored detox, short-term residential treatment and medication-assisted treatment.

The facility on Ezzard Charles Drive also offers intensive outpatient programming, including grief services, family education, counseling and support groups.

CAT plans to apply these new tools to all its existing inpatient and outpatient services and treatment offerings, Woods said.

“I have faced stigma my whole life in many forms,” Woods said, “so to be one of the first program facilitators is just proof that stigmas can be broken.”

Center for Addiction Treatment