Vienna (Austria), 20 January 2020 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with the support of the Government of Canada, convened 50 experts from 25 countries and 5 international organisations from 14 to 16 January to contribute their expertise and experience to an initiative on how to address stigma around substance use.
Stigma is an enormous challenge in the field of psychoactive substances, including controlled substances, strongly and negatively affecting people with substance use disorders, their families and friends, as well as the services that they are offered and seek.
Research shows that stigma around substance use is much higher than that around mental health disorders and that it amplifies the negative health and social effects of substance use, including the burden of the disease and mortality.
In recognition of this situation, the Government of Canada, together with Uruguay and Bolivia, tabled a resolution at the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which was endorsed with the co-sponsorship of 19 other Member States: 61/11 "Promoting non-stigmatizing attitudes to ensure the availability of, access to and delivery of health, care and social services for drug users". As a follow-up to the Resolution, UNODC, with the support of the Government of Canada, launched an initiative on how to address stigma around substance use.