What We Say Matters

What We Say Matters

Let me talk about language for a second.  In our society, the way we phrase things has a major effect on the perception of what we say.  That's why, when talking about something as controversial as methadone treatment, it's important to use language that is beneficial to our cause.  Terms such as "medication assisted treatment" help communicate the idea that methadone maintenance is a legitimate therapy that is medically necessary.

Language is most important when it comes to how we describe our treatment.  Methadone opponents, the news media, and sometimes even patients themselves often fall in to the trap of referring to methadone as "meth".  While calling it "meth" may seem like simple shorthand, the word also refers to an illegal drug with major negative perceptions.  So much of language's effect is subtle and unconscious.  When a newspaper refers to a new "meth" clinic opening, it misrepresents a treatment that is already disliked by many.

Using the correct language is only of the necessary steps we must all take to legitimize methadone treatment in people's minds.  Every time a patient is caught selling drugs at a clinic, every time a methadone patient gets in to an auto accident, every time someone sees methadone patients milling around the clinic in their pajamas, smoking cigarettes -- all these things add to the public's negative perception of methadone.

Using the right language when describing our treatment is one easy thing we can do to make it more acceptable in people's minds.

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