The workshop has been designed with rural journalists in mind, because research at Oak Ridge Associated Universities has found that the stigma still attached to drug abuse keeps people from seeking help. “The increasing news media reports of opioid-related overdoses and crimes has led many to overlook the fact that prevention programs are working and that many people are entering treatment and living in active recovery,” ORAU said in a report on its study.
It also said local news media could help by reporting more success stories from people in recovery. “We think stigma also discourages some news outlets from reporting on substance abuse and recovery, and that’s why we’re holding this workshop,” said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which publishes The Rural Blog.
“We have a national-quality lineup of reporters who have won Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage, a weekly newspaper editor-publisher who has tackled the subject head-on, a recovering addict who writes a newspaper column about his experiences, and several experts on the subject,” Cross told editors in an email this week. “We don’t know of another such workshop having been held anywhere, and we want you to be part of it.”