Responsibility without blame for addiction

Hanna Pickard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
243 Downloads (Pure)


Drug use and drug addiction are severely stigmatised around the world. Marc
Lewis does not frame his learning model of addiction as a choice model out of concern that to do so further encourages stigma and blame. Yet the evidence in support of a choice model is increasingly strong as well as consonant with core elements of his learning model. I offer a responsibility without blame framework that derives from reflection on forms of clinical practice that support change and recovery in patients who cause harm to themselves and others. This framework can be used to interrogate our own attitudes and responses, so that we can better see how to acknowledge the truth about choice and agency in addiction, while avoiding stigma and blame, and instead maintaining care and compassion alongside a commitment to working for social justice and good.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169–180
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Addiction
  • Blame
  • Choice
  • Disease
  • Responsibility
  • Stigma


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