The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Community Drug Strategy Advisory Committee (CDSAC) and Trellis HIV & Community Care are launching an anti-stigma campaign to increase awareness of substance use stigma and the negative impact it has on people’s lives. The campaign aims to humanize people who use substances and promote understanding and compassion around how trauma lies at the root of addiction.
While developing a community response to the drug poisoning crisis, KFL&A community partners identified a clear need to reduce the stigma around substance use. Stigma makes it harder to break the cycle of substance use, discourages people from seeking care, and prevents them from being seen as they truly are: a fellow human in need of support.
“Stigma against people who use substances only makes a scary situation worse,” says Candice Christmas, Project Engagement Manager of the Support Not Stigma initiative (Trellis HIV & Community Care). “It’s so pervasive in our community and our systems, and it needs to be addressed because people are afraid to get the help they need.”
The campaign features seven stories from people with lived experience with substance use and stigma, including mothers, a chemical engineer, front-line workers, people experiencing homelessness and other members of our community. The stories will be displayed throughout the city, on social media and at SupportNotStigma.ca.
“Substance use isn’t a moral failing,” added Susan Stewart, CDSAC Chair and Director of Community Wellbeing at KFL&A Public Health. “We hope that people see a part of themselves in these stories so that people can learn to be kind to members of their community who are experiencing challenges.”
Find out what you can do to make Kingston a kinder place for people impacted by substance use. Visit SupportNotStigma.ca.
About Support Not Stigma
The Support Not Stigma (SNS) initiative is a $1.5M grant funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) managed by Trellis HIV & Community Care to provide people who use substances and experience significant mental health challenges with “a hand up, rather than a hand out,” supports for the people who love them, and training for the people who work with them.
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About the KFL&A Community Drug Strategy Advisory Committee (CDSAC)
The KFL&A CDSAC was formed in March 2017 in response to rising opioid overdose mortality rates across Canada, Ontario, and in the KFL&A region. Early on, CDSAC focused on engaging community partners to recognize the “opioid crisis” and to develop a community response strategy. Since 2019, the CDSAC’s work shifted to addressing the drug poisoning crisis, a broader issue impacted by the changing unregulated drug market. Find out more about the KFL&A CDSAC at kfladrugstrategy.ca/
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