End Stigma (Interior Health)

End stigma.png


Interior Health's "Stigma and Substance Use" Video Playlist:

Interior Health Blog Posts:

"End the stigma: Jill's story"
"End the stigma: Shane's story"
"End the stigma: Brian's story"
"End the stigma: Rachel's Story"


Notable for including the narrative of a person in active use, "End Stigma" is a "four part series of stories and videos about the stigma faced by those impacted by substance use". Interior Health also cut together a 30-second version of each person's story; each person had an accompanying blog post on Interior Health's subdomain for news.









Shane's Story:
Click here to read Shane's full story.

"Having experienced both substance use issues and homelessness, they know about shame and blame firsthand.

'Every homeless or drug addicted person I know has been impacted by stigma. If you carry a back-pack, you’re not allowed to use a washroom, even in a business where you eat every day,' Shane says.

'Stigma is everywhere. We need to get rid of it, for everyone. Not just for the homeless or addicted but as a race.' He pauses. 'Whoa I’m getting deep now, holy cow.' He laughs to lighten the mood, but his words are true.

It was the impact of stigma that spurred Shane to begin advocating for marginalized people in their community. He is a co-founder of VEPAD – Vernon Entrenched People Against Discrimination – a support group of sorts, that is active in harm reduction efforts, community clean-ups, and education.

'Don’t paint everybody with the same brush and don’t be so quick to judge. It can happen to anyone. I’m proof of that,' Shane says. 'I come from an upper middle class family. I was always a confident person until 10 years ago.'

Rachel's Story: 

00:04 I had a low self-esteem. I felt crappy. I wouldn’t feel that I was worthy. I… wasn’t good enough for myself, or I’m not good enough for my spouse or not good enough to be a sister, a daughter, or a mother. It was hard… And then to be with, um, strangers. I mean, ‘oh she’s a- she’s a druggie. She does drugs. She’s not gonna, um, do with anything [sic] with her life.’ But I mean, I am. I’m… I’m doing more with my life now than-

00:46 I’m wanting to get off the drugs and better myself. And then after my… mom passed away, I wasn’t doing drugs at the time. I quit. So I’m happy that my mom got to see that I was trying to… better myself and better my life.

01:13 All of us, we are all equal. We all have our own paths to walk. We’re not rude, we’re not mean. We- we want just the same as you, to live life and be happy.

'I’d never used drugs in my life. I didn’t drink much. All of a sudden one night I had a line of cocaine put in front of me, and I fell in love with it right then and there. I couldn’t get enough of it. I lost everything to it.'

The stigma surrounding homelessness and substance use weighs on you, Shane says, until you are looking down all the time and it feels like nobody cares about you."


Interior Health, “End Stigma (Interior Health),” Anti-Stigma Archive, accessed July 13, 2024, http://antistigma.info/items/show/16.