Media kit

Stigma Primer for Journalists

Download the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction’s Stigma Primer for Journalists (PDF).

The Primer supports journalists in their reporting about substance use without stigma. Prioritizing language that neither stigmatizes nor blames people who use drugs is a matter of responsible journalism.

Backgrounder for the Greater Sudbury Summit on Toxic Drugs

Local context for the drug toxicity crisis

Since 2016, Canadians have been confronted with an increasingly unpredictable and toxic drug supply resulting in fatal and non-fatal drug poisonings (overdoses). In June 2023, Dr. Huyer, Chief Coroner for Ontario presented Learning from the dead to protect the living: Coroner investigations of opioid toxicity deaths in Sudbury to City of Greater Sudbury (CGS) Council. The findings included local data which confirms the devastating local impact of the toxic drug crisis. In alignment with Dr. Huyer’s recommendations, the City of Greater Sudbury and Public Health Sudbury & Districts committed to host a drug toxicity leadership summit in the fall, now scheduled for December 7 and 8, 2023.

Quick stats

Summit purpose

The summit is designed to be a forum for community leadership* to examine the current magnitude of and response to the drug toxicity crisis in Greater Sudbury, with the goal of determining actionable next steps, processes, and structures to mitigate harms and ensure accountability.

*Community leadership is broadly defined and includes the knowledge and expertise of those affected by substance use

Summit details

Summit goals

The Greater Sudbury Summit on Toxic Drugs aims to:

Summit objectives


In the face of a relentless drug crisis that has touched so many people in every corner of the country, we must remember that behind each statistic lies a person with loved ones. Our collective duty is to offer empathy, understanding, and hope as we focus on protecting communities and providing support along everyone’s unique journey.

– Penny Sutcliffe,
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer
Public Health Sudbury & Districts

In addition to local efforts initiated in response to the drug toxicity crisis, the level of collaboration from this Summit is a new approach for our region. The Summit will bring together diverse leadership to facilitate the type of information sharing that will highlight gaps in the current approach and seek to identify actionable solutions.

– Sandra Laclé,
Co-Chair Leadership Summit Planning Committee
Acting Director
Public Health Sudbury & Districts

The main goal of the Summit is for local community leaders to work together to develop ideas, commit to new strategies, and remain accountable in addressing the crisis. We are eager to see what potential solutions are identified as we know our region requires unique action in response to this crisis.

– Tyler Campbell
Co-Chair Leadership Summit Planning Committee
Director of Children & Social Services
City of Greater Sudbury


Board of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts

Motion carried June 15, 2023: Drug/Opioid Crisis Leadership Summit (Motion #39-23)

Greater Sudbury City Council

Resolution carried June 13, 2023: CGS Motion CC2023-117

Frequently asked questions

What is the toxic drug crisis?

The toxic drug crisis refers to the accidental deaths caused by a street drug supply that is toxic. This supply is toxic because as it is unregulated, can be mixed with toxic additives, and/or have higher than expected amounts. Drugs can include deadly concentrations of opioids such as fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, benzodiazepines (sedatives), and xylazine (animal tranquilizer). As a result, those dependent on this drug supply are suffering from overdoses at an alarming rate.

What is drug poisoning (overdose)?

A drug poisoning or overdose occurs when a person uses more of a substance, or combination of substances, than their body can handle. The brain is then unable to control basic life functions. The person might pass out, stop breathing, or experience a seizure. Overdoses can be fatal.

What is the current state of the toxic drug crisis in northern Ontario?

Northern Ontario’s death rate from toxic drug poisonings is three times higher than the rest of the province (Office of the Chief Coroner, 2023). The Sudbury and Manitoulin districts continuously surpass poisoning (overdose) provincial death rates, even reaching top national death rates considering its population size. The Community Drug Strategy for the City of Greater Sudbury publishes opioid surveillance information to help individuals access accurate information to help them understand the impact of opioid use in our community.

Who will be at the Greater Sudbury Summit on Toxic Drugs?

Community and Indigenous leaders, and people with lived and living experience, alongside partners from various sectors, including government officials, policymakers, educators, healthcare professionals, law enforcement agencies, public health experts, harm reduction specialists, addiction treatment and recovery professionals, researchers, and academics.

What can the community expect after the Summit?

After the Summit, the planning committee will compile the results and share them with participants, local partners, and community. By incorporating a wide range of perspectives, we hope to explore innovative solutions to address and mitigate harms of this crisis.

Helpful links

This item was last modified on November 8, 2023