British Columbia

Vancouver Canucks launch campaign to fight stigma surrounding addiction

The Vancouver Canucks hockey team is launching a joint campaign with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to combat the stigma around substance use.

Public awareness campaign will include public billboards and messaging around Rogers Arena

The campaign will also be promoted at all Canucks home games at Rogers Arena. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press )

The Vancouver Canucks hockey team is launching a joint campaign with B.C.'s Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to combat the stigma around substance use.

The provincewide campaign will include television, online and social media messages, as well as public billboards that will be rolled out over the next few months.

The campaign will also be promoted in Rogers Arena at all Canucks home games and other events, such as concerts.

'Stigma around addiction is killing people'

At a news conference, B.C.'s minister of mental health and addictions, Judy Darcy, said she hopes the campaign will discredit false stereotypes by showing that people from all walks of life can struggle with addiction — including her own mother.

"It serves as a call to action for all British Columbians to stop seeing addiction as a moral failure and start seeing it as the health issue that it is," she said.

"Stigma around addiction is killing people."

Kirk McLean, a retired Vancouver Canucks goaltender an the campaign's ambassador, says he hopes the campaign will encourage "honest conversations" n among family, friends and co-workers about addiction. (CBC)

Kirk McLean, a retired Vancouver Canucks goaltender, is the campaign's ambassador. He said that as a professional athlete, he's known several colleagues who struggled with addiction. 

"There is a public face to this crisis. In fact, many are the same people who support and cheer for our team. So it makes perfect sense for the Canucks to be involved in this project, " he said.  

He said he hopes the messaging will encourage people to strike up "honest conversations" about addiction with friends, family members, and co-workers.

Darcy said that in the first 10 months of 2017, 1,200 families in B.C. lost loved ones to a drug overdose.

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