Specific Suggestions for Key Stakeholders

Current health reform efforts and recent advances in technology are playing a crucial role in moving toward an effective public health-based model for addressing substance misuse and its consequences. But the health care system cannot address all of the major determinants of health related to substance misuse without the help of the wider community. This Report calls on a range of stakeholder groups to do their part to change the culture, attitudes, and practices around substance use and to keep the conversation going until this goal is met. Prejudice and discrimination have created many of the challenges that plague the substance use disorder treatment field. These factors can have a profound influence on individuals’ willingness to talk to their health care professional about their substance use concerns; to seek or access treatment services; and to be open with friends, family, and coworkers about their treatment and recovery needs. Changing the culture is an essential piece of lasting reforms, creating a society in which:

  • People who need help feel comfortable seeking it
  • There is “no wrong door” for accessing health services
  • Communities are willing to invest in prevention services, knowing that such investment pays off over the long term, with wide-ranging benefits for everyone
  • Health care professionals treat substance use disorders with the same level of compassion and care as they would any other chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease
  • People are celebrated for their efforts to get well and for their steps in recovery
  • Everyone knows that their care and support can make a meaningful difference in someone’s recovery

In addition to facilitating such a mindset, community leaders can work together to mobilize the capacities of health care organizations, environmental agencies, social service organizations, educational systems, community-based organizations, government health agencies, religious institutions, law enforcement, local businesses, researchers, and other public, private, and voluntary entities that impact public health. Everyone has a role to play in addressing substance misuse and substance use disorders and in changing the conversation around substance use, to improve the health, safety, and well-being of individuals and communities across our nation.

Review other sections of Specific Suggestions for Key Stakeholders: