Counteracting Media Bias and Sensationalism

Sensationalism is a type of editorial bias in the media in which events and topics are over-hyped to catch attention. This misrepresentation often happens in the case of addictions in general and with heroin dependent people in particular. Many news features and photographs are designed to shock. Certainly there are unethical addiction treatment centers but the vast majority of facilities are professional and closely follow federal and state regulations. Photos of the opioid crisis feature IV needles and people passed out or dead. So what can be done to reverse this negative perception of this disease and treatment? Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss their experiences and opinions.

Discussion Guide:

Have you read negative portrayals of addiction treatment in the news more often than hopeful and inspiring stories?

Would you agree that the majority of photos pertaining to the opioid crisis perpetuate a negative perception of people dependent upon opioids?

Often heroin addiction is depicted in Hollywood movies in a way that sensationalizes and glamorizes an addiction lifestyle. Why do you think this is?

 Do you believe there is a bias against treatment clinics as disreputable?

What are the costs to the recovery community of this bias?

What can be done to counteract this bias?

Supplemental Reading:

Julie Miller, Behavioral Healthcare Executive,