Alternative wording is recommended for certain terms involving opioid use

November 17, 2022

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In this video, Karen Werder, PhD, PMHNP-BC, PHN, assistant professor at Sonoma State University School of Nursing, discussed a presentation she gave at the annual conference of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

Werder presented a list of words commonly used to describe opioid use that are considered biased and stigmatizing, and recommended several other terms to use in the future.

“There are a lot of terms that are problematic and everyone in health care is familiar with them, and some of them may surprise people that we think of as stigmatizing,” Werder said.


  • Werder, Karen. Addressing bias and stigma in the language we use with individuals with opioid use disorder. Presented at: American Psychiatric Nurses Association Annual Conference 2022; 20.-23. October 2022; Long Beach, California

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