There are actions you can take to stop stigma. Learn what you can do to make a difference to someone and help build a healthier, more caring Timiskaming.

Choose compassion

  • Acknowledge a person as a human being who should be treated with dignity, care and respect.
  • See a person for who they are and what they can be, and not by what drugs they use.
  • Recognize that your own experiences, or lack of experiences, should not be used to make assumptions or judgements about another person’s life.
  • Give support to the person and remember to extend support to their family members and loved ones. Listen to their stories, be there for them when they need you, and acknowledge how hard the situation may be for them.

Choose your words carefully

  • Use person-first language. Avoid using hurtful labels such as drug abuse or drug user; replace with the terms substance use and a person with a substance use disorder.
  • Accept a person’s situation and avoid judgement. Acknowledge what the person is going through, the difficulty to disclose addiction, and avoid passing blame.
  • Replace negative assumptions with expressions of care and concern. 
  • Listen and avoid lecturing. Allow space and time for a person to share their story. Give them your full attention and stop yourself from jumping in. Never force someone to share their story if they aren’t ready or willing.
  • Ask how you can support a person instead of coming to your own conclusions and solutions. It could be a glass of water, company to sit with, or helping them get the support they need at that moment.

Choose to get involved

  • Like and share ‘Stop Stigma’ posts on social media, videos and the link to this webpage.
  • Educate yourself about addiction, harm reduction and substance use disorders.
  • Get trained to use Naloxone which can reverse an opioid overdose and save a life. 
  • Help others become more aware by passing on facts and challenge stereotypes.
  • Know what resources are available for people with substance use disorders. Offer this information to others if asked or when they are ready.