On September 7, we loaded up our fearless leader’s cute little ’98 Honda Civic, and with some much-needed help from Google Maps, hit the road to New Westminster for Recovery Day BC. Recovery Day is part music festival, part information fair, and part community engagement event for people to learn about recovery from addiction and mental health issues. We were invited to attend along with LifeLabs, who we’re partnering with on a campaign to eliminate stigma associated with substance use.

Left to right: BCCDC Foundation Executive Director, Kristy Kerr; LifeLabs National Manager, Community, Jen Newsted; BCCDC Foundation Senior Development Officer, Katie Koncan.

We had the chance to speak one-on-one with folks from across the province about substance use, harm reduction, and how we can activate health and eliminate stigma together. Engaging in anti-stigma work is deeply important to us and is part of our Reducing Harms priority. Since 2016, BC has been in a public health emergency: the overdose crisis. We’re proud to be engaged in our own anti-stigma education work, as well as support programs like Compassion, Inclusion, Engagement at the BC Centre for Disease Control, to help put an end to the crisis.

Our executive director Kristy Kerr spoke alongside Erica Thomson, a peer expert and long-time advocate for people who use substances, in a presentation on de-stigmatizing substance use. Their presentation covered types and sources of stigma that people who use substances experience, the role it has in the overdose crisis, and how we can all play a part in eliminating stigma.

You can watch the full recording of Kristy and Erica’s talk here.

Interested in learning more about the overdose crisis and stigma? Hop on over to our resources page for FAQs, downloadable infographics, and additional resources to get started.

If you want to help us do more anti-stigma education, or you want to help peers (people with lived experience) engage in grassroots anti-stigma, overdose response, and harm reduction work in their communities you can make a charitable donation to our Reducing Harms priority today!

Don’t forget you can also sign up for our newsletter for monthly updates on what we’re doing, our priority projects, events and more!

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