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 SalusCare facilitates Addiction Policy Forum’s Anti-Stigma Initiative

SalusCare has been selected as one of more than 100 pilot sites nationwide for Addiction Policy Forum’s Anti-Stigma Initiative, with the goal of reducing the stigma that prevents people struggling with addiction from reaching out for help.

The pilot program, which was launched by the Addiction Policy Forum in late 2023, will deploy and test new anti-stigma interventions. A survey open to the community will help identify challenges to addiction treatment. The goal of the initiative includes reducing addiction stigma, eliminating stereotypes and prejudice, eradicating discrimination and increasing knowledge about addiction.

“The Anti-Stigma Initiative reaffirms our commitment to providing a supportive and compassionate environment for individuals who are impacted by substance use disorders,” said Stacey Cook, president and CEO of SalusCare. “By challenging stigmatizing beliefs, we aim to remove the barriers that often prevent individuals from seeking help and support on their journey to recovery. As a pilot site, SalusCare will be at the forefront of this groundbreaking initiative, actively contributing to testing and evaluation of new stigma interventions and new tools to measure levels of stigma in the community.”

The entire community is invited to take the survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete. It includes questions about how people view addiction and addiction treatment. Click here to take the survey: https://bit.ly/49ruqT4.

“Individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD) are too often subject to harsh moral judgments and frequent discrimination, which can delay treatment access and increase rates of dropout from treatment and recovery services,” said Executive Director of Addiction Policy Forum Jessica Hulsey in a release about the pilot program. “All key sectors in our communities must come together to address the manifestations of stigma and improve knowledge and compassion. This initiative will allow us to test new scales and interventions to address stigma at the local level.”

As a pilot organization, SalusCare will test one of two sigma interventions. SalusCare was formed in 2013 after the merger of Lee Mental Health Center and Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS). Addiction services are offered for adults and youth and include day, evening and residential treatments, medication assisted treatment, maternal assistance and detoxification.

For information about the Addiction Policy Forum Anti-Stigma Initiative, visit addictionpolicy.org/anti-stigmainitiative.

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