Thanks so much to all the Experts for giving your time to this timely and crucial topic. To start off the discussion, I'd like to ask you to share what language you use to describe patients living with addiction, both in your clinical practice as well as in research and advocacy. Evidence indicates that language that avoids passing judgment on patients with substance use disorder can lead to improved treatment outcomes. A growing movement advocates the use of person-first language, which disentangles mental illness and addiction from identity by allowing for the person to be described literally before the disease. Some experts have proposed striking certain words from the medical lexicon; in particular the word “abuse." At the same time, one can imagine the difficulty in formulating an exhaustive list of acceptable and unacceptable terminology that would be embraced universally by physicians, patients, and stakeholder groups. What word choices have proved most effective for building rapport with your patients? What terminology do you employ in your research to describe clinical subjects living with addiction? How can we best use language to advocate for this patient population?
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