Substance Use and Addiction Education

British Columbia is in the middle of two public health emergencies, with the worsening overdose crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, they have created unprecedented risks for people who use unregulated substances, resulting in a rise in toxic drug poisonings since March 2020. Overdose fatalities are occurring in communities across the province, fueled by a combination of a toxic and unpredictable drug supply and untreated addiction.

Health professionals in BC have a critical role in reducing the risk of overdose by supporting people who use substances and people with substance use disorders—to connect them with the treatment and care they need to ensure their health and improve their wellbeing. 

In response to this pressing challenge, UBC Health formed a partnership with the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) to improve substance use and addiction education for health professional students at UBC. This will help ensure graduates enter practice with foundational training in substance use and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery to accompany the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to support people who use substances.

Initiatives, Education/Training, and Resources

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Special Interest Group

UBC Health and BCCSU have created a special interest group (SIG) to support the development of a community of practice for those interested in substance use and addiction education at UBC. Subscribe to the email list and receive updates, education and training opportunities, event notifications, and resources as they become available.


Read previous SIG issues.

If you have a relevant resource or event to share with the special interest group, please email Liz Yue, Substance Use and Addiction Partnership Manager, UBC Health and BCCSU at

Substance Use and Addiction Lunch & Learn Series

Hosted by UBC Health and BCCSU, the Substance Use and Addiction Lunch & Learn Series provides foundational knowledge about substance use and addiction. This free webinar series is geared towards health program instructors and preceptors from any discipline who supervise students. However, anyone can benefit from this learning, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. 

Past webinars are available on the UBC Health YouTube channel:

  • Substance Use and Addiction 101
  • Substance Use and Stigma
  • Trauma- and Violence-Informed Care
  • Harm Reduction
Collaborative Health Symposium

In June 2021, UBC Health and BCCU hosted a collaborative health symposium to provide key partners with an opportunity to discuss substance use and addiction curriculum and identify resources and opportunities to enhance existing educational content, both uni-disciplinarily and collaboratively.

Patient Educators

UBC Health is enhancing substance use and addiction education by including voices of people with lived and living experience with substance use. A student workshop on substance use and stigma was developed as part of Patient and Community Partnership for Education’s Patient and Community Voices series, which provides students with an opportunity to learn directly from patients and community members who share their perspectives and expertise.