UBC panel examines how academic institutions can reduce stigma of drug use

Posted on April 5th, 2018

The University of British Columbia is bringing together academics, community members and people who use drugs in a bid to find out how institutions can reduce stigma around substance use.

It’s a sign that more organizations not typically involved with drug policy are examining their role in fighting the escalating opioid crisis.

“We want to get those experts’ advice on what we should be doing in our research, in our training and also in our community engagement,” said Dr. Gurdeep Parhar, one of the panellists at a round-table discussion at UBC on Tuesday.

Parhar, a family physician and executive associate dean of clinical partnerships and professionalism at UBC’s faculty of medicine, said the issue of stigma is something that comes up all the time when he’s treating patients, and can be a barrier to effective treatment. 

“I often think in my practice, ‘Are patients not telling me about their substance use patterns or am I not asking the right questions?'” he said.

“That’s why I’m really keen to get input and learn from the real experts — those living with this illness, those that are affected, family members, frontline workers.”

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