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 accessible, evidence-based knowledge about substance use and addiction. Each webinar provides learners with tangible takeaways that can be used to improve the care for and treatment of people who use substances. 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
  • Introduction to Opioid Use Disorder and Treatment Options
  • Understanding Stimulant Use and Stimulant Use Disorder Care
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 in collaboration with the Patient and Community Partnership for Education (PCPE).

  • The Patient and Community Voices student workshop Substance Use Care: Addressing Stigma in the Health System to Improve Patient Outcomes provides students with an opportunity to learn directly from patients and community members who share their perspectives and expertise.
  • The Living Library is a collection of videos of patients and caregivers talking about their experiences during their health journeys and includes I'm Just Trying to Keep My Kid Alive, a vignette about Deb, who tells the story of her child’s struggles with addiction and navigating health services.

Additional Education and Training Opportunities
    • Addiction Care and Treatment Online Certificate is a free online certificate course for healthcare professionals interested in learning more about providing care to patients with various substance use disorders, including alcohol, tobacco, stimulants, cannabis, and opioids.
    • Provincial Opioid Addiction Treatment Support Program is a comprehensive education and training program that provides the tools for prescribing oral opioid agonist treatment and injectable opioid agonist treatment. The online component is free and available to anyone interested in learning about opioid use disorder care.  
    • Recommended modules
  • Substance Use Stigma Reduction Trainings in Canada is a list of training courses and programs offered through various organizations that work in the areas of substance use and substance use stigma reduction. They were developed for diverse target audiences, including for those who work in health and social services, post-secondary education, law enforcement, and the general population. 
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Resisting Stigma Course aims to decrease stigma in healthcare, enhance providers’ understanding of the community, and build healthcare providers’ skills and confidence working with clients who use substances. The course enables healthcare providers to better understand the lives of their clients, provide culturally safe practice, increase access to care, and improve quality of care for people who use substances.
  • Substance Use: What You Should Know provides a high-level overview of substance use disorder and what all health care providers (future and practicing) should know about working with people who use drugs.
  • Want to Learn More about Substance Use? includes information about BCCSU education and training programs and clinical guidance documents, as well as additional resources and readings that are relevant to substance use care and treatment.
  • Addiction Practice Pod is a podcast focusing on addiction and substance use care for healthcare providers in British Columbia and Yukon, offering practical tips and guidance to providers seeking to improve their skills in addiction care.
  • BCCSU Clinical Care Guidance provides evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and protocols focused on substance use disorders, health system interventions, and key populations. 
  • BCCSU Drug Checking Project partners with harm reduction organizations across British Columbia to implement and evaluate community-based drug checking services.  
  • First Nations Health Authority Increase the Support. Reduce the Harm. provides harm reduction services, supports, education, and research for and with First Nations people.
  • UBC Student Recovery Community is a safe, welcoming, and inclusive space for students who are in recovery or curious to explore their relationship with alcohol, drugs, and/or addictive behaviours, including disordered eating, gaming, and gambling.
  • UBC Okanagan Campus Health Harm Reduction Team (HaRT) engages the UBCO campus community in discussions about the opioid epidemic and substance use and builds on existing strategies to strengthen harm reduction services.