The use of social media platforms can help reduce the stigma around opioid use based on reportage from CBC News. The Health Department of Nova Scotia continues to work with Health Canada and the province of British Columbia for the creation of a pilot project. The pilot initiative is intended to be released in the summer. The main purpose is to have a campaign in order to change public attitudes around drugs and drug use.

That is, this is meant to improve social attitudes in order to encourage drug users or those who know those who use drugs to get appropriate help as necessary. Ally Centre of Cape Breton Executive Director Christine Porter approved of the campaign. She said the withdrawal from the opioids is severe.

It may lead to increased illicit behaviour for those who go through the withdrawal, presmably to acquire more of the addicted-to substance.

The research points to opioid use disorders being capable of being treated through medicine. That makes the reduction of stigma, “criminal stigma,” important. It creates a barrier in compassion and can prevent users from go to seek help. It can force them into illegal or dangerous behaviour.

Porter stated, “It’s a disorder. It’s a disease, and one that can be treated, and one that we can find help for people instead of shunning them all and pushing them all into the corner… It’s not about a flu, or anything like that. It’s a terrible sickness that people endure, so, you know, it leads them to desperate measures, and unfortunately that’s where a lot of the stigma comes from.”

The words used, the labels for users and drugs, creates a stigmatizing language or set of words around opioid usage. For example, there is reference to opioid abuse or opioid addiction. People use opioid use disorder now. One reason: eople who need opioid medication in a legitimate, medicinal way use the opioids to deal with the chronic pain.

“A lot of education has to take place,” Porter explained, “People are still under the impression that substance use disorder or addiction is still a person’s choice, when we know and science knows, and lots of research has shown, that indeed that it is a disease… We absolutely have to change the language.”

The Chief Medical Officer of Health in Nova Scotia, Dr. Robert Strang talked about the ways in which opioid use disorder need treatment in a health care setting rather than becoming stigmatized. The resultant stigmatization makes some physicians reluctant to prescribe medications

The national prescription guidelines were updated, recently, to help with counteracting this pervasive stigma around drug use and opioids at this moment in time with the crises in various cities taking lives via overdose.

“The worst thing we can do is to actually push people to a street drug, or supply of opioids on the street, because now we’ve put them at much-increased risk for an overdose,” Strang opined, “…Stigma reduction is part of our opioid response plan, so we’re always happy to partner with others when there’s ability to share some costs, etc.”

There will be monitoring of the campaign. Dependent on failure or success, and degree of success if so, this will be “rolled out nationally.”  Strang described the ways in which this is coinciding with the harm reduction methodologies being employed in Nova Scotia with the introduction of “overdose antidote kits across the province.” (ed. I assume this means Naloxone kits.)

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen


(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail:

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

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