Aaron Kucharski emphasized how we as journalists have the ability to help change the culture surrounding the discussion about addiction. Kucharski said in order to change the stigma that is attached to addiction, the media should change the way they report about it. He mentioned how most of the time, coverage focuses on the problem but never the solution. Story after story about addiction is reported on the negative aspects of it and that it exists, but rarely do people change the narrative and cover the solutions of overcoming addiction.
Kucharski said one of the most vital steps in removing the stigma from addiction is by adjusting the language we use when talking about it. Words like addict, alcoholic, junkie , abuser and crackhead are all common nouns used in stories that have some sort of addiction narrative. Kucharski said though that these words all carry negative connotations. Not only do they have negative perceptions, but using nouns like these dehumanizes the people who are being talked/written about. Instead of using nouns, Kucharski recommended rephrasing sentences to ensure audiences know that the information they are consuming has to do with people, not just substances. For example, instead of calling somebody an alcoholic, an alternative would be to say, “he/she is addicted to alcohol.” Kucharski said how something as simple as rephrasing or using alternative diction can change the perception for the audience instantly.