Stigma over homelessness is frustrating efforts of many

Our community is full of people with good hearts like Penelope Protheroe (“She feeds Everett’s homeless; ‘no sit’ ban makes her mission harder,” The Herald, May 30).

I read along happily about her dislike of profiling and the desire to make people disappear.

Then I read, in reaction to the justifications for Everett’s expanded ‘no sit, no lie’ ordinance: “To Protheroe, that reasoning makes assumptions about people without homes. She particularly dislikes the conflation of homelessness and addiction.”

My heart quivered. I felt a weight of sadness. I am often at Overdose Awareness with other families who have lost a child. I facilitate a SMART recovery group for friends and families of people affected by addiction.

I am including a quote from Johns Hopkins ( “A large body of research indicates that stigma is persistent, pervasive and rooted in the belief that addiction is a personal choice reflecting a lack of willpower and a moral failing. Rates of stigma are extremely high both in the general public and within professions whose members interact with people with addiction, including the health care professions. Research demonstrates that stigma damages the health and well-being of people with substance use disorder and interferes with the quality of care they receive in clinical settings.”

Gretchen Saari


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