Groups that want to end Maine’s opioid crisis say a new state law will help reduce stigma by tweaking language in existing statute.
The law removes references to terms like “substance abuse,” “alcoholic” and “alcoholism” in Maine law. It replaces such words with “substance use disorder” and a “person with substance use disorder.”
Maine Behavioral Healthcare Director of Peer Services Randy Morrison said that such language changes can encourage people to ask for help and experience fewer relapses.
Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services Executive Director Malory Shaughnessy said stigma contributes to high rates of death, incarceration and mental health concerns.
The emergency legislation became law on May 1. Republican Gov. Paul LePage let the law go into effect without his signature.