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Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Statement by Rita Notarandrea, CEO, on Recovery Month

Ottawa, September 6, 2018 — The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) is pleased to add its voice in support of Recovery Month 2018 to help reduce the stigma surrounding addiction, raise awareness about recovery in our communities and celebrate the fact that people can — and do — recover from addiction.

Addiction touches everyone. People from all walks of life — one in 10 Canadians — struggle daily with substance use disorders. Sadly, they also struggle with guilt and shame because of negative stereotypes and discrimination in our society. In fact, stigma is one of the major barriers to recovery from substance use disorders today.

Addiction is not a moral failing. Nor is it a choice. Thankfully, a fundamental shift is occurring in our understanding of addiction and the way in which we address it, as the recovery advocacy movement makes itself heard in Canada. Thousands of people, once suffering silently from addiction, are now living healthy and engaged lives.

So, this Recovery Month we will celebrate the gains made by those in recovery, just as we would applaud gains made by those managing other chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

For our part, CCSA is working hard to bring about change. Stigma and stigmatizing language are barriers to seeking help and recovery. During National Addiction Awareness Week 2018 (November 26 to December 2), CCSA will be conducting the first in a series of stigma workshops to help shine a spotlight on the issue.

There is still much work to be done. Canadian families are struggling against the devastating impacts of the deadly opioid crisis. CCSA continues to deploy evidence and science to increase awareness and educate the broader public — to open their minds and shift their attitudes from stigma to compassion in the work place, in our communities and in our families. It is time for all of us to check the biases we may have and see this disease for what it is: a disease like any other, and one worthy of care and compassion.

This month we urge you to join us in celebrating the many pathways to recovery because change will only come about when we all stand up and raise our voices. Make no mistake, recovery is real. It is attainable and sustainable, but it must be a journey free from stigma. Certainly, it is a journey worth celebrating!

Rita Notarandrea, M.H.Sc.,C.H.E.
Chief Executive Office, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

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