Back to top

Stigma and Substance Use: Toward Safer Environments, In The Mind’s Eye 2011: Issues of Substance Use in Film + Forum

Kitchener, Ontario
October 4, 2011

9:30-11:00 a.m.
Grand River Hospital, Kaufman Building, Room K202, 40 Green Street

A very rare and exciting presentation courtesy of the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council in association with Homewood Health Centre.

With Dr. Bernie Pauly, School of Nursing University of Victoria; Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia

Problematic substance use, and illicit drug use in particular, are often highly stigmatized. The stigma of substance use may intersect with other types of stigma such as disease stigma and poverty stigma. Stigma associated with drug use and social disadvantages plays out in a variety of ways in health care. First, stigma may impact individuals directly by affecting their health and well-being. Second, stigma associated with substance use may negatively impact access to health care services. Third, individuals may discontinue treatment or leave hospital early with implications for health outcomes and health care costs.

In this presentation, findings from an ethnographic study in which participants identified their concerns about accessing mainstream health care services will be discussed. People marginalized by substance use and social disadvantage were often reluctant to access health services and even distrustful of mainstream health care services for a variety of reasons including fears of being judged or mistreated.   Cultural safety in conjunction with a harm reduction approach is proposed as a response to promote access to health care for people who are marginalized by drug and social disadvantages in community and hospital settings.

This presentation and discussion will be available via the Ontario Telemedicine Network.  For those out of town who wish to participate in the presentation, locate a OTN site here:  Sites with OTN technology are typically hospitals and community health centres and may be willing to link into this presentation for groups or individuals in your community.  OTN sites can self-register through Ncompass by following this URL link:

In The Mind’s Eye 2011:  Issues of Substance Use in Film + Forum features free film and forum events every week throughout October and November at locations across Waterloo region.  The full schedule will be available at beginning September 16.