Home > Stigmatization of people with addiction by health professionals: current knowledge. A scoping review.

Cazalis, Anthony and Lambert, Laura and Auriacombe, Marc (2023) Stigmatization of people with addiction by health professionals: current knowledge. A scoping review. Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, 9, 100196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dadr.2023.100196.

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Background Stigma of people with substance and non-substance use disorders (SNSUD) is a long-known phenomenon. The aim of this review was to assess the stigmatization, by health professionals, of people with SNSUD, its characteristics and change over time.


Methods A scoping review of literature reviews was conducted with systematic search of PubMed, Scopus and PsycINFO databases.


Results From the 19 selected reviews, all focused on people with SUD (PWSUD) only and 20 % to 51 % of health professionals had negative attitudes/beliefs about SUD. Addiction training and clinical experience with PWSUD were associated with a less negative attitude. Health professionals’ negative beliefs, lack of time or support were associated with less involvement in addiction care. Tobacco use disorder, SUDs other than alcohol and tobacco, relapse, psychiatric comorbidity or criminal records were associated with a more negative attitude. The influence of several variables potentially related to stigmatization was inconsistent across selected reviews. The evolution of stigmatization over time was not systematically assessed and showed mixed results.


Conclusions The stigmatization of PWSUD has an impact on their care, and a change in some variables could reduce its importance: moral model of addiction, health professionals’ negative beliefs, lack of training, time, and role support. Teaching what addiction is according to the medical chronic disease model, and developing stigma-focused training could improve caregivers’ attitudes and further reduce stigma. Further studies are needed to determine whether stigma of PWSUD by health professionals has changed over time and to characterize stigma for people with non-substance use disorders.

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