National Addictions Awareness Week 2022: A Community of Caring


Andrea Lam, 
Health Promotion Specialist, PSP

Adapted from Overcoming Stigma Through Language primer by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

This year, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) National Addictions Awareness Week is from November 20 – 26. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘A Community of Caring’, which focuses on how collaborating as a community makes change happen.

The Addictions-Free Living Working Group of the Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) Health & Wellness Strategy is creating a culture that encourages healthy lifestyle choices. The group hopes their efforts will reduce the risk of problems with alcohol, cannabis, gambling and other potentially harmful substances and behaviours.

According to the 2018 MARPAC Health & Wellness Strategy Evaluation Report Card results, the two priorities for addictions-free living were:

  1. Continued work on reducing stigma around substance use and addiction;
  2. Continued education and resources about addictions and substance use.

The Addictions-Free Living Working Group encourages Defence Team members to visit the CCSA National Addictions Awareness Week website ( for more information, and to seek support with substance abuse.

Reducing Stigma: #WordsMatter

Language around substance use disorder often creates feelings of shame and fortifies the stigma associated with it. Stigmatized language can lead to behaviours that isolate people who use substances. This stigma discourages people from seeking help for fear of being labeled as an ‘addict’. It can also impact the quality of healthcare services they are provided and influence the allocation of government resources towards treatment initiatives.

We can address this stigma by shifting to person-focused language that acknowledges someone as a person before describing their personal attributes or health conditions. This language will also acknowledge users are struggling with a health condition and shift away from shaming them.


NAAW 2022 Event

Naloxone Training presented by AVI Health & Community Services

When: Nov. 23 @ 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where: C&PO’s Rainbow Room (in-person)

What: Learn the signs of an opioid overdose, how to administer Naloxone, and receive your own Naloxone kit for FREE.

Who: Presentation open to all. No registration required. As this event will be taking place in person, please do not attend if you are feeling sick.

If you have an expired Naloxone kit, feel free to bring it with you and exchange it for a new one.

Questions? Email


Say this, not that!

What you say What people hear

Abuser – It’s my fault

Drug Habit – It’s my choice

Addict – There’s no hope

Drug User – I’m a criminal

Instead of this… Say this…

Abuser, Addict – Person with substance use disorder

Drug habit – Regular substance use, substance use disorder

Former/Reformed Addict – Person in recovery/long-term recovery

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