Health Care and Social Service Education Associations Partner to Address the Opioid Crisis

The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) in partnership with the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC), and the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE-ACFTS) are pleased to announce the funding of a three-year interprofessional education project by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program.

The project, titled Empowering the next generation of health care and social service professionals with knowledge, skills, tools and supports to address substance use issues in Canada will help ensure that future nurses, pharmacists, and social workers are prepared to enter the work force well-equipped to address issues related to substance use with current best practices in health promotion, prevention, harm reduction, and treatment.

“This project will help to address Canada’s ongoing opioid crisis”, said Dr. Cynthia Baker, CASN’s Executive Director. “We are hopeful that this initiative, along with the work that countless other organizations and individuals are doing, will have a real impact”.

Janet Cooper, AFPC’s Executive Director, commented on the unique nature of the project’s partnership: “A person who is using opioids or experiencing addiction is likely to interact with one or all the professionals represented by our project – it makes sense for us to stop working in silos, especially in the face of the opioid crisis”.

The project will involve a large number of diverse stakeholders in practice of the three disciplines, working in harm reduction, treatment, and research that will help determine what are the most current best practices that should be included in the curriculum of future health and social service professionals. “People who use drugs experience stigma throughout the health care and social service system that create barriers to treatment”, explained Alexandra Wright, CASWE’s Executive Director. “Future professionals need education on how to improve services for individuals with substance use disorders”.

More information about the project and the resources that are developed will be available on the websites of all three project partners.

About the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing: CASN is a bilingual non-profit organization representing baccalaureate and graduate nursing education in Canada. Its mission is to lead nursing education in the interest of healthier Canadians. For more information visit

About the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy: AFPC is the national voice for academic pharmacy in Canada, providing leadership, expertise, advocacy and effective partnerships. AFPC’s vision is to shape the future of pharmacy to optimize health through excellence in education and scholarship. For more information visit

About the Canadian Association of Social Work Education:

CASWE-ACFTS is a bilingual association with a social justice focus that promotes excellence in social work education, practice and scholarly activities through the enrichment of social work education, accreditation, advocacy, research, publication, consultation and collaboration. For more information please visit