What We Can Do To Fight Fake News in the Addiction Industry
Fake news. You’ve likely heard the term circling around for the past couple of weeks following the election. It’s something that our content team has thought a lot about and we’ve struggled with how to tackle such a consequential subject.
As a writer, I was (and still am) pretty discouraged by the media and I couldn’t help but be curious about how this affects the work I do in the addiction industry. At The Discovery House we always strive to create the most educational stories and news pieces on our blog and social media outlets but I couldn’t help but be worried if we were somehow playing a part in the dispersion of fake news.
I write almost everything that you see on The Discovery House blog. Anything I don’t directly write myself, I thoroughly edit and am very discerning about what content is housed there. I like to think of the blog as our little piece of the media pie — and I’m the editor. It’s a place for us to display who we are as a company, what we stand for, and it’s important to us that the information that we create and share reflects evidence-based facts, studies, and research by addiction industry professionals and experts. Integrity is very important to me and thus to the brand of The Discovery House.
However, as recent events have proven, not all companies and publications share this commitment to truth.
Fake news is not a new concept but it truly came to light during the final months of the 2016 presidential election. It seemed that fake news was more favorable and created the most engagement throughout the election. As it turns out, people really don’t care if news is real or not, as long it’s entertaining and confirms what they already believe to be true. This can be extremely harmful especially when it comes to important topics like the disease model of addiction, which is a hot-debated issue despite the fact that it has backed by science and the medical community for decades. The Surgeon General just released a report called Facing Addiction a few weeks back supporting the disease model of addiction and it’s also backed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
As a writer who is dedicated to quality and truth above all, this is very discouraging. After the election, regardless of what side you are on, the fact that we are so divided on topics that are so important is troubling. The heroin epidemic claimed thousands of lives this year alone — we know that we can’t afford to keep quiet about addiction. We also can’t afford to say the wrong thing. Lives are on the line and that is why it is more important for us than ever to stick with our mission in spreading awareness and education about addiction.
I realized I was worried about the part we play in the distribution of fake news, not as a publisher of media but as a reader. As a publisher, we will continue to distribute news and content that is based on data, experience, and professionalism. Facts as opposed to perception. But what can we do as readers? Acknowledge that this is a problem, then challenge it, and next time you’re scrolling down your Facebook news feed, think critically about the stories you see. While social media has given everyone a voice, remember that it’s more about being reasonable versus opinions.
More importantly, when and if we choose to speak up we should be asking ourselves how can we be the voice that rises above the rest. The one committed to stating the facts and spreading awareness and truth. Above all, that’s what we will be, and I hope you will continue to make The Discovery House your go-to for addiction news and recovery resources.
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If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we are here for you. Call us at 877–937–0846 to speak to an addiction specialist today. Learn more about our programs and resources here.