National Addictions Awareness Week 2022 – A Community of Caring: Show Us How You Care

By: Wendy Cheung, undergraduate student in Behavioural Neuroscience at The University of British Columbia & Arnima Singh, undergraduate student in Sciences at The University of British Columbia

Everyone belongs to a community. Within our city, our schools, community centers, and workplaces form  a dynamic whole.

People constantly surround us; together, we can recognize problems, propose solutions, and initiate change. Large improvements arise from countless small changes, and it all stems from showing that we care about those in and out of our community. 

One of the pressing problems in our community is substance use. Over the recent decade, more and more work has been done to move away from stigmatizing substance use into learning more about it. However, many insights have been kept within the scientific community, with public perceptions of substance use remaining distorted. Many people still overestimate its prevalence, underestimate its recovery, or choose to avoid the issue altogether (Tucker, J. et al, 2008). Nonetheless, communities have worked to change this misconception through community-based substance use programs, youth development interventions and rehabilitation programs. Some examples include CAPSA Peer Support, D.A.R.E. Canada, and SMART Recovery. Many healthcare facilities and hospitals have incorporated areas specifically targeted toward addiction support and have attracted many volunteers to foster a positive, warm environment. Various educational institutions and laboratories have spearheaded insightful research on substance use disorders. Students and non-profit organizations have been eager to learn and start initiatives to better connect with this population and show that we care. Communities across Canada, at all levels, have been steadily moving towards recognizing the unique challenges this population faces, establishing frameworks to bring everyone together to fight this plaguing issue. 

As the annual  National Addictions Awareness Week approaches, it is important to acknowledge that British Columbia has 8 Mental Health and Substance Use Organizations dedicated to addressing, advocating, and supporting various mental health and substance use disorders. Here at the B.R.A.I.N. Lab, we have created a Knowledge Hub that makes critical community resources available for patient support and the general public’s interest. Continuous learning and showing that we care as a community is essential, regardless of where we currently stand. 

For more information on how you can better support and contribute to a safer environment, here are some resources compiled by Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA): 




Young People:

For free services on mental health and addiction help: 

Wellness Together Canada: 1-866-585-0445

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868