Stigma and Language
Stigmatizing language contributes to shame, isolation and risk taking. Reframing language when talking about people who use drugs is key to reducing stigma, increasing trust in healthcare services and saving lives.
Use the Glossary to understand key terms about opioid overdose prevention and response. Read about Respectful Language and Stigma and learn more about how using “person-first” language can reduce stigma.
Combatting Stigma across B.C.
Health authorities around the province are working to reduce stigma and helping to prevent overdoses by highlighting stories about the impact of negative stereotypes.
- First Nations Health Authority: Drug Use is a Health Issue, Not a Moral Issue
A message by Dr. Evan Adams, Chief Medical Officer at the First Nations Health Authority.
- Northern Health: Stop Stigma. Save Lives
Read stories from people with lived experience to gain more insight into the lives of those affected to help contribute to a society where all people live with dignity and respect.
- Fraser Health: Compassion Matters
Fraser Health has created a series of stories about how compassion has positively influenced people who have been greatly impacted by the overdose crisis.
- Island Health: Compassion as a Guiding Action
Compassionate response to substance use opens doors by encouraging acceptance and safety.
- First Nations Health Authority: Embracing the Grey Area: Harm Reduction in a Community Context
Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair, First Nations Health Council encourages harm reduction among the youth in his communities.
Telling Their Overdose Stories
Leslie McBain, Marilyn Oberg, Scott Darling and Aidan Hughes-Toal all have stories to tell about how overdoses impacted their lives.
Leslie McBain lost her only child, Jordan, when he was just 25 years, to an accidental opioid overdose. She is an advocate for harm reduction changes to drug policies, actively participates on provincial committees on policy reform and speaks to high school students on the topic of drug safety.
Marilyn Oberg is a Paramedic Chief with BC Emergency Health Services. She has worked with the BC Ambulance Service for 30 years and has responded to multiple overdoses. She is very concerned that more and more of those overdoses are caused by Fentanyl.
Scott Darling is in recovery. Compassion and care are needed to show support for people experiencing addiction, as well as encouragement for people at any stage of recovery.
Aidan and Scott are both in recovery. Compassion and care are needed to show support for people experiencing addiction, as well as encouragement for people at any stage of recovery.