Aaron Kucharski of Facing Addiction came to our class on Thursday and spoke about the importance of language use when it comes to talking about addiction and recovery. He said that it’s important to use language that doesn’t feed into the negative stigmas surrounding addiction. There are so many words that are commonly used when talking about addiction, words such as: addict, alcoholic, junkie, crackhead and so on. When these words are used, it further engains the negative stigma that surrounds addiction. Words like these are negative and offensive, Kucharski said.
In order to break this negative stigma, we need to use words that are humanizing when talking about addiction. As members of the media, we play a major role in how the general public understands addiction and recovery. The Associated Press stylebook has recommended journalists NOT to use the word “addict” when reporting on addiction because it further deepens the stigma, which is exactly what Kucharski told our class. We as journalists need to report on addiction and recovery in a solutions manner in order to shed necessary light on addiction and recovery and truly help those in need.