Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

The voices of people with lived and living experience are unique and vital; no one else can speak so meaningfully to what their experience of substance use and addiction feels like and what effect this has on their lives and the lives of those around them.

The participation of people with lived or living experience in the planning, delivery and evaluation of programs, policies, services and supports can help make sure the system is taking a person-centred approach and better serving the needs of those individuals, as well as their families and friends.

“Nothing about us without us” is a powerful message from individuals who believe that they have the right to be involved in discussions and decisions that impact the policies, strategies and services they could need.

CCSA is committed to working with these groups, who can provide advice on priorities, strategies, research approaches and knowledge exchange, help to reduce the stigma associated with substance use and create long-term collaborative partnerships.

What Is Lived and Living Experience?

Lived experience refers to people who have used one or more substances and who are currently in recovery. Living experience refers to people who are currently using one or more substances. Recovery is a complex multi-faceted process of moving towards improved health, well-being and quality of life. Recovery involves changes in lifestyle and behaviours to address the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of addiction. The process of recovery can include harm reduction, stopping uncontrolled substance use and might or might not involve abstinence.

Featured Resource

Sean LeBlanc, peer outreach support worker, shares his journey from living with addiction to working as an advocate for people who use substances.


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