OPINION: How B.C. educators can play a role in addressing the opioid overdose crisis

Vancouver Courier, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

Schools can help remove stigma, change the language used about addiction and, most crucially, build resilience and other strengths in students, three noted panelists told the audience at the Frankly Speaking event on Sept. 22.

Leslie McBain, who lost her 25-year-old son Jordan to an overdose in 2014, said there are many things she wished she had learned before he died.

“I wish I’d known deeply what addiction is — how it looks, how it feels, how it manifests,” McBain said. “Because then I wouldn’t have been so hard on my son at that time… We all need education on addiction.”

Changing the language is a powerful tool for changing stigma, she said. Words like “junkie” stigmatize people who use drugs.

“Words do change culture and then they change our ideas,” she said. “We need to check our own stigma at every turn.”

OPINION: How B.C. educators can play a role in addressing the opioid overdose crisis