Skip to content

Drug Stigma Awareness for Law Enforcement

Notice: The quotes in this course have been preserved as they were directly provided and may contain language that is recognized as stigmatizing.


Content Provider:
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA)


Length (in hours)
30 minutes

Release Date
September 2020

Revision Date
July 2023

Registration Process Register

New insights from research are reshaping our thinking about substance use disorder. With new information, what was often considered a moral failing or weakness is now recognized as a medically diagnosed condition. There are many different reasons why people develop this complex disorder, and we don’t always understand why. However, we do know that people with substance use disorder are highly stigmatized in our society. Stigma, leading to prejudice and discrimination, is one of the main barriers that prevents people from getting the treatment they need.

Whether it be a colleague, family member, friend, or a member of the public, learning more about substance use disorder can help you help others and improve your encounters with people with this condition.

This course is designed for the law enforcement community and provides an opportunity to learn about substance use disorder and the impacts of stigma on those who suffer from this medical condition. Tips and examples from Canadian communities demonstrate how small changes can make a difference and how policing practices are changing in response to new knowledge.

Learning Objectives

When you have completed this course you will be able to:

  • Describe substance use disorder as a health issue and understand its link with exposure to trauma
  • Recognize the different types of stigma and understand the impact of stigma on people with substance use disorder
  • Adopt skills and approaches to reduce substance use stigma within the enforcement community

Learning Evaluation

As part of a requirement to complete this course, you will have to complete two surveys. Participation in this research initiative will help us to demonstrate that eLearning is an effective way to administer learning that can save classroom time, and be an interactive and rewarding experience. The pre-learning survey will assess your prior knowledge and attitudes about people with substance use disorder. The post-learning survey will ask many of the same questions after you take the course and will demonstrate the effectiveness of the learning.

  • Each survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.
  • Thank you for taking the time to participate in this initiative.
  • All components of this course will need to be completed in order to achieve successful completion and a certificate.

Target Audience

Sworn Police, Police Services, Government and Other First Responders

Content Provider

Content for this course was developed by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA). CCSA would like to acknowledge contributions of individuals representing police and people with lived and living experience of using drugs and their family members. Thank you for honesty and openness in sharing your stories to help break down the barriers of stigma.

Public Safety would also like to acknowledge the Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA) and their contribution of access to videos and materials included in this training.