Dr. Bonnie Henry: we need supports that meet people where they are at

“For those who do struggle with substance use and addiction, it is often the result of external factors, not personal choices” – Bonnie Henry.

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Henry wants to overcome common misconceptions about substance use to overcome stigma and discrimination.

She said that “physical, emotional, or psychosocial pain stemming from past trauma and other negative experiences” drive substance abuse – requiring non-judgemental approaches from society.

“People may have genetic risks that cause predispositions to substance use disorder, or stress and trauma in their past or current environment. They could be struggling with their mental health, have social challenges such as poverty or housing instability, or become dependent on prescription medications to deal with physical pain.

“We need to have supports in place that are compassionate, that meet people where they are.”

Negative and discriminatory portrayals of what can be a chronic, relapsing health condition can be real barriers to recovery.


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