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Does Our Culture Glamorize Addiction?

There’s no doubt that drug addiction is stigmatized today, despite ongoing attempts by numerous agencies—including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—to demystify and de-stigmatize it.

At the same time, other cultural forces are pushing addiction farther into the realm of taboo. Reality TV shows turn drug and alcohol interventions and celebrity addiction treatment into sideshows, packed with drama and excitement, all of which are far from the reality of an actual, properly executed intervention or a high-quality, research-based addiction treatment program. These shows make it hard to take the grim realities of addiction and treatment seriously.

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