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Letter to the editor: Eliminate stigma

Vic DiGravio, President & CEO, Association for Behavioral Healthcare, Natick, MA | 7/6/2017, 6 a.m.

There is no doubt that the issue of discarded hypodermic syringes found in city parks and public spaces around Boston neighborhoods is one that needs to be addressed and resolved quickly

(“With influx of addicts, needles proliferate in Boston parks,” June 28). Families using these public spaces deserve to have a serious effort put forth on their behalf to preserve their safety.

However, we strongly object to the language used by The Bay State Banner that stigmatizes individuals who suffer from substance use disorders, and their repeated use of the term “Methadone Mile.”

Lazy terms like “Methadone Mile” negatively brand an entire neighborhood. Describing men and women as “addicts” reduces them to their health struggles.

Eliminating stigma requires vigilance in communicating about behavioral health disorders.

Words matter. We need to stop using language that diminishes and separates this neighborhood, and dehumanizes individuals with mental health and addiction disorders.