ADDICTION AS DISABILITY: IMPLICATIONS WITHIN LEGISLATION

Jake O'Flaherty

Abstract


Contemporary disability legislation often includes addiction in the category of disability. The choice to exclude addiction from this legislation can create unnecessary barriers for those people with addictions. Exclusion of addiction from legislation may block an asffected individual from being able to access benefits or services which could potentially help them succeed. This paper applies Schneider and Ingram's (1993) model of social construction to an understanding of the issues surrounding the inclusion of addictions in disability legislation. With inclusion of addictions in disability legislation, people with addictions are viewed in a more positive light, both by themselves and by society at large. This more positive construction would both identify and assist in engineering a shift in societal perceptions. As well, inclusion potentially increases access for affected persons to benefits and services. Increased access would likely help to destigmatize addiction and therefore meaningfully support people who seek overcome them. Logistical complexities inevitably arise in considering the creation of an accessible society for people with addictions or substance issues, but contemporary studies suggest that inclusion in legislation would have effects that are more positive than negative.

Keywords


INCLUSION; SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION; SUBSTANCE USE; DISABILITY BENEFITS; ASSISTANCE; LAWMAKING

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Copyright (c) 2016 Jake O'Flaherty

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