If you are in distress, you can text WELLNESS to 741741 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

Home › Resources › Stigma and the Opioid Crisis: Full Report

Stigma and the Opioid Crisis: Full Report

Purpose

Canada is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Yet, while broad agreement exists that the stigma surrounding opioid use is both significant and consequential, several questions remain before we can have a comprehensive understanding of how it affects persons with opioid use problems:

  • What does opioid-related stigma look like?
  • Where does it come from?
  • How is it expressed?
  • How might it interfere with seeking or accessing help?
  • How might it affect the quality of care and the availability of services?
  • How might it be successfully combated?

Since answering these questions is essential for delivering effective interventions to improve the quality of first response services, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) undertook an 18-month
research project (funded by Health Canada) under its Opening Minds anti-stigma initiative. The project had three main objectives:

  1. Develop a better understanding of the role of stigma in opioid (and other substance) use problems to assist governments (and others) with service delivery and policy decisions.
  2. Identify learning needs among first responders (e.g., emergency department staff, fire and police services, paramedics, and outreach workers or other front-line service staff) regarding stigmatization to help create appropriate and effective interventions.
  3. Establish a measure for evaluating anti-stigma initiatives that are directed toward first responders on the front lines of Canada’s opioid crisis.
Methodology

The project included a scoping literature review as well as key informant interviews and focus groups involving first responders, persons with lived experience of substance and/or opioid use, policy makers, and other service providers. The group meetings were held in each of Canada’s five regionsto ensure they included sites with particularly high rates of opioid-related deaths or hospitalizations and had a broad representation of opinions, perspectives, and experiences. From these activities, we developed and tested a new scale for assessing opioid stigma interventions among first responder groups.

Key Findings

Heather Stuart, PhD, from Queen’s University completed the scoping review in March 2018. In January 2019, she published an invited article based on its findings in Healthcare Management Forum, called “Managing the Stigma of Opioid Use.”

Feedback Form

Hey, there! Thanks for checking out this resource. We’d love it if you could share a little more info about yourself and how you got here (What kind of information were you looking for? Did this resource help?). Doing so will help us create better content in the future. Thanks!

Disclaimer:

  • The completion of the form is voluntary.
  • The information collected will be used solely and exclusively by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to improve the quality of our documents.
Are you willing to be contacted within 3 to 6 months for a short follow-up survey?
In case of “Yes” – please provide an email address

Disclaimer

Your feedback will only be used for feedback purposes. Thank-you for participating in our feedback program.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

SHARE THIS PAGE

RELATED

Serious impact from COVID-19 on mental health and substance use continues, especially among youth A new report from the series of Leger polls commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of...

Physical chronic diseases often co-occur with mental health problems and illnesses. To further explore this relationship, we have developed several resources in collaboration with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, including a scoping...

Watch our discussion of the recent policy brief about the impact of the pandemic on families and early childhood mental health with co-author and co-host: the Canadian Paediatric Society. In...