Fighting Stigma with Education

BCHD leads public health campaigns to prevent addiction and overdose death, focusing on de-stigmatizing addiction and its treatment—especially medication-assisted treatment, the gold standard of treatment for opioid addiction.

Addiction is a disease. Treatment works. Recovery is possible. Rolling back the tide of addiction and overdose death requires that we understand this and act accordingly.

Don’t Die

Don’t Die is a campaign focused on reducing the stigma of addiction, promoting substance use disorder treatment, and educating the public to recognize and respond to an overdose with the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone.  To learn more about naloxone click here.

Black Box Warning

Black box warning for benzos and opioids –In February 2016, a group of health directors led by Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, called for a “black box warning” on opioids and benzodiazepines (like Xanax and Valium) that states that concurrent use of the medications increases the risk of fatal overdose. Black box warnings appear on the labels of prescription drugs and call attention to serious or life-threatening risks. Dr. Wen and Dr. Alexander-Scott were joined in signing the petition by health directors from 16 other states and territories and 12 other cities, along with a collection of nationally renowned academics, researchers, and physicians. The petition was successful: in August 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration adopted the “black box warning” on the concurrent prescription of opioids and benzodiazepines.

Talking About Stigma