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This November 21st panel discussion focused on substance use stigma, as influenced by structural factors, such as laws and policies, and historical, geographic and economic factors.

Our panel explored the following in a three-section approach:

  • What is structural stigma?
  • What are interventions that organizations can use to address stigma?
  • How can service providers avoid reproducing stigma in their interventions?

Originally live streamed: November 21, 2023

Watch the recording here.

Who should watch the presentation?

This discussion will be of interest to service providers who work with people who use drugs (PWUD) and policymakers.


Kyle Arnold (He/Him) identifies as an addict in recovery and has been clean since December 26, 2018. One year later, Kyle started to work as an outreach worker at Norwest Community Health Centres (CHC) where he has recently taken on the role of harm reduction support worker with their Safer Supply Team. In addition to NorWest CHC, Kyle works as a program coordinator for P.A.C.E. in Thunder Bay. Kyle is proud to say that he works very closely with the Ontario Native Women’s Association’s Human Trafficking Team. Kyle is also active in the community in his work as a board member with Team DEK and as the narcotics anonymous chair of hospitals and institutions for North-Western Ontario.

Nat Kaminski (they/them) identifies as a person who uses substances. They started in harm reduction more than 10 years ago as a peer-worker before peer work was considered a formal role. Nat is the founder of the Peel Drug Users Network and the founding president of the Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs. They helped create the "how to spot a person who uses drugs" guidelines and video and were also a researcher on the Safe Supply Ontario Study, the Peel Sex Workers Needs Assessment alongside many others. Nat currently works for Moyo HCS as the harm reduction outreach and peer programs supervisor, and also at the University of Toronto as a research assistant and as a consultant with the Dr. Peter Centre on the women and gender-diverse communities’ barriers to access OPS/CTS.  Nat is a settler and resides in the town of Milton, Ontario - the traditional territory of the Huron, Wendat, Petun, Seneca, Neutral, Anishinaabe and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Scott Neufeld (he/him) is a white cis-male settler and a lecturer in community psychology at Brock University. His work focuses on developing a critical, structural, and intersectional analysis of substance use stigma and how it can be undone. This has involved research and organizing to promote the meaningful inclusion of people who use drugs in research, service delivery and organization governance and a large-scale critical review of 134 substance use-focused anti-stigma campaigns from across Canada.

Hamnah Shahid (any/all pronouns) is a PhD candidate at Brock University. Their research focuses on the relationship between drug decriminalization and destigmatization from a police abolitionist perspective. Through his work, he hopes to help people cultivate their radical imaginations to create better, more compassionate worlds.

About the organizers

The Northern Ontario Toxic Drug Crisis Response Community of Practice (CoP) brings together public health practitioners from Northern Ontario to identify strategies and solutions to address the opioid poisoning crisis through:

  • Establishing and strengthening partnerships between health units, respective community drug strategies, relevant regional committees and working groups
  • Facilitating knowledge transfer, expertise development and application of new knowledge
  • Sharing expertise and capacity for planning and response, and coordinating access to data and resources, and
  • Ensuring regular reporting on agreed-upon metrics for accountability and strategic and situational awareness.
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