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Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. (2021) Overcoming stigma: online learning. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

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The CCSA have developed three learning modules on the topic of stigma associated with substance use. These modules have been made with both the general public and professional audiences in mind.

After completing the modules, you will understand that substance use disorder is a treatable, medically diagnosed, health condition, and that by using person-first language you can begin to change the way you think about and treat people with substance use disorder. The goal of the modules is to increase your understanding of stigma and equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to address stigma at home, in the workplace and in your communities.

CCSA is proud to have partnered with the Community Addictions Peer Support Association on modules two and three and are grateful for their contributions to this suite of resources.

The first module, The Pain of Stigma, will help you:

  • Understand what stigma is and the different types of stigma;
  • Describe the impact of stigma on people with substance use disorder; and
  • Recognize the importance of replacing stigmatizing language with person-first language.

The second module, Insights on Substance Use, will help you:

  • Understand that substance use disorder is a health condition, not a choice or a moral failing;
  • Recognize the many different paths to developing a substance use disorder;
  • Describe how substance use affects the brain; and
  • Recognize the role that trauma may play in the development of substance use disorders.

The third module, Stigma Ends with Me, will help you:

  • Acknowledge that words matter when it comes to people seeking help for substance use disorders;
  • Recognize stigmatizing language and adopt more positive word choices;
  • Recognize that stigma is a barrier to recovery for people seeking treatment;
  • Describe the positive impact of eliminating stigmatizing behaviour, attitudes and language; and
  • Understand the importance of supporting people with substance use disorders.

Item Type
Teaching Resource
Publication Type
International, Web Resource
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
May 2021
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
Corporate Creators
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
Place of Publication

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