Experts Say Attack On Hunter Biden’s Addiction Deepens Stigma For Millions
October 16, 2020
“To hear the president of the United States say this is a legitimate political smear shows that he thinks this is a way to attack,” said Eric Michael Garcia, a journalist who entered recovery last year for alcohol and sex addiction.
After the debate, Garcia wrote about the attacks on Hunter Biden in The Washington Post, arguing that “mocking people for their addiction will make them less willing to get help.”
In an interview with NPR, Garcia said it was hard for him to admit needing help because he feared the kind of shame and public attacks now hitting the Bidens.
“I worried my personal shortcomings would be used against other people, people who I love,” he said. “I think that’s something that a lot of people with addiction fear.”
Experts say stigma can be a life-or-death issue for Americans who have addiction problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, 75% of those people never get help, often because of shame and stigma.
“Words change the way we perceive those with this disease,” said Gary Mendell who heads a national addiction recovery program called Shatterproof.
He told NPR that the kind of shame reinforced by political attacks on Hunter Biden will leave more people reluctant to get help.