Substance Use Stigma

Perpetuating stigmatizing stereotypes by advancing inaccurate narratives can also have harmful consequences for people who use substances.

Often unintentionally, many people still talk about substance use or addiction in ways that are stigmatizing—meaning they use words that can portray someone in a shameful or negative way. With simple changes in language, harmful stigma and negativity around substance can be reduced or avoided.

Video: Beyond Stigma

This animated video was created by the Subject Matter Health Research Lab to explore the impact of stigma on all aspects of treatment for people living with opioid use disorder. It was created in collaboration with academics, clinicians, and people with lived experience. This video was endorsed and disseminated widely to both national and international audiences.

discussion guide and worksheets (printer and PDF-friendly versions) are available to help facilitate reflection and discussion of the video

Language Matters

Developed by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. Read their resource "The Impact of Stigma and Avoiding Stigmatizing Language."

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