The language around substance use issues can help or hinder recovery.
That’s the message of this year’s National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW), an annual campaign from November 12 to 18 led by Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. This year’s NAAW theme is Words Matter, drawing attention to how the use of stigmatizing language can perpetuate false and harmful myths around substance use, and act as a barrier to recovery.
To help combat stigma, CMHA encourages the public to STOP and consider whether language used:
• Stereotypes people with substance use issues?
• Trivializes people with substance use issues?
• Offends people with substance use concerns?
• Patronizes people with substance use issues by treating them as if they were not as good as other people?
NAAW is an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about substance misuse, prevention, and treatment. In Canada, it is estimated that approximately 21 per cent of the population (roughly six million people) will meet the criteria for addiction in their lifetime.