Words Matter – Terms to Use and Avoid When Talking About Addiction

This evidence-based content highlights the effects of stigmatizing language on patients with addiction. You’ll also learn about terms to use and to avoid (and why) and how to integrate person-first language into practice. This activity informs clinicians on how they can show leadership in how language can destigmatize the disease of addiction. It is focused on using person-first language, as well as terms to avoid to reduce stigma and negative bias when discussing addiction.

Learning Objectives


At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:
  • Explain the effects of stigmatizing language on patients with addiction
  • Compare common terminology and assess which terms should be used or avoided and why
  • Integrate person-first, non-stigmatizing language into everyday practice
  • Identify terms to use and terms to avoid when speaking to patients about addiction