All those gory addiction images

Every news story, every documentary, and even notifications about events that educate about addiction include negative and damning visuals of needles, shooting up, candles and spoons, powder, and people lying on the floor having overdosed.

So what’s wrong with having those images?

Those images could be triggers for those who are vulnerable meaning we don’t want to put images out there that could compromise those in recovery. What’s more, they perpetuate the stigma of addiction. And we don’t need more of that.

Heroin is already a word and disease dripping with shame and ugliness without all of the negative imagery.

When we report on cancer, do we show detailed pictures of infusions of chemotherapy? And for diabetes, do we show lots of needles and finger pricks? Why then, do we show the images for addiction that make us cringe.

So for a news story, if you can, ask reporters to be more creative about images to show instead of the same needle and overdose pictures over and over. For flyers used for educational events, think of something positive. Hands holding each other in solidarity, images promoting recovery, for example. That way we can make some progress eliminating stigma as it relates to substance use disorder.

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Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and currently working on getting a book published. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory.

2 thoughts on “All those gory addiction images”

  1. This is so true!!!!! I remember being interviewed by one of the local channels. The promo price was flashing emergency lights and a sooon and needle. It made me feel physically ill. We need to challenge the status quo. Great post Anne Moss 💙

    1. I know you will help spread that message Jenny. Especially as it relates to our son’s. It just somehow emphasizes that they died from some less noble cause of death when science has proven it is a disease.

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