Community briefed on opioid terminology

Hunter Ellis, Reporter

Community members were educated Wednesday afternoon in a workshop, “Words Matter,” on the new guidelines of media coverage and terminology with regards to substance abuse at Marshall University’s Visual Arts Center.

The speakers and audience discussed how to use destigmatizing language and the dilemmas reporters face while trying to accurately report regarding addiction or people with a substance abuse disorder.

The presentation consisted of three speakers, Kristin Steele, assistant professor for the department of English, Kristen Lillvis, associate professor and director of graduate programs and Lyn O’Connell, Marshall University’s SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, & Referral to Treatment) clinical coordinator.

The presentation focused on avoiding both public-stigma and self-stigma. O’Connell said one of the biggest barriers facing addiction is the self-stigma, or disbelief that individuals dealing with the disease of addiction deserve help.

“As Huntington moves in the right direction regarding the opioid epidemic, we don’t do a good job of highlighting that,” O’Connell said. “We don’t do a good job of publicizing that to some degree, and when we do, some of the actual headlines can be derogatory and against the people.”

O’Connell is also part of a local group focused on greater inclusion of, and education on, the opioid epidemic which will host the second of six training sessions geared toward the faith-based community from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday at Central Christian Church, located at 1202 5th Ave. in Huntington.

Hunter Ellis can be contacted at [email protected]