The stigmatization of people living with substance use difficulties is all too common in Canada, including within healthcare environments. People with lived experiences of substance use difficulties often report feeling devalued, dismissed and dehumanized by many of the healthcare professionals with whom they come into contact. Research with healthcare providers suggests that stigma can manifest in subtle and largely unintended ways. Specifically, stigma can be related to a lack of skills and confidence when working with patients with substance use difficulties, a lack awareness of one's own prejudices and an incomplete understanding of how important healthcare providers are in maintaining good health. Moreover, understanding stigma and the lives of those impacted by negative and often damaging stereotypes is fundamental in ensuring that people who use substances achieve better health outcomes.
In collaboration with our colleagues at the Association for the Collaboration to End Stigma (ACES), we are happy to offer nurses access to anti-stigma workshops.
Visit the ACES website and use the online form to book a session.
Please do not hesitate to reach out or ask us questions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In memory of Gerald "Spike" Peachey
Spike was a passionate advocate for people who use substances and the driving force behind these anti-stigma workshops. He reminded us about the impacts of stigma, the importance of harm reduction and, one of the most important aspects of nursing practice, understanding the holistic needs of the people we care for and meeting them where they are, without judgement.
Spike spoke to numerous nurses of all designations as well as students and knew better than most the distinct work that nurses do in the area of substance use as well as stigma and harm reduction. He told us clearly that we could do better, but also reminded us of the power in connecting with and truly listening to understand each other. Thank you Spike for sharing your wisdom and your voice. We mourn your loss and are thinking of your friends and colleagues. We will honour your memory by continuing our work in the areas you cared most about.