Carleton Neuroscience Society rallies team in support of Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services

Students in the Carleton Neuroscience Society and Stigma Ends At CU campaign have been physically distanced this past year. Instead of having in-person events and fundraisers, they are rallying a team in support of Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services. 

After a year of isolation and physical distance, Brianna Messer, team co-captain, has this to say:  “It feels really nice, being able to motivate each other, get active, and raise awareness. Addiction has been declared a second pandemic in Canada. Starting local with a harm reduction organization and working with the people we see everyday is a good place to start.”

“People need care, not shame, to prevent the downward spiral that’s all about control. There are too many barriers to access services because of the stigma that they are unable to stop, vs the evidence that shows the brain’s structure has adapted to the addiction. Changing the brain’s structure should be done with care and compassion,” shared Messer.

So far, the Carleton team has 10 people, and they are reaching out through the Stigma Ends at CU group and Carleton Neuroscience Society to recruit more like-minded runners and walkers. 

Luke Barkovich, one of the team leads for Stigma Ends At CU, says “Our team is really truly amazing. We have a wide variety of Carleton undergraduates from all walks of life, but one thing we all agree on is the importance of education and harm-reduction in mitigating the stigma associated with substance use. Our team works eagerly to promote our core values on social media and host numerous educational events throughout the year. This is another one of those opportunities for us to show the Ottawa community that we care and are here pushing for change, especially in these trying times.”

Stigma Ends at CU is a student-led campaign at Carleton University aimed at reducing the stigmatization of substance use and addiction since stigma is the most significant barrier for individuals seeking treatment. They aim to do this by providing students with the appropriate education, resources, and peer support. Their platform utilizes an educational and harm reduction approach and maintains a judgement-free and inclusive community.

With exams and finals looming their teams will be deciding how to run their virtual race and share videos with each other in a low-fuss way to not add to stress levels and look forward to running or walking after their exam period in May. 

“When two Carleton University neuroscience student groups independently approached Rideauwood saying ‘we want to fundraise for your cause,’ we were thrilled! There is an urgent need for donations to help the ever-increasing number of people who are seeking treatment for problematic substance use, behavioural addiction and related mental health issues.  Forty-two percent of Ontario’s adults have increased their substance use or gambling since the start of the pandemic, and we are certainly seeing this reality at Rideauwood. We also appreciate that neuroscience students recognize that the Rideauwood approach is working. Rideauwood offers both harm-reduction and abstinence-based treatment options,” says Catini St Pierre, Manager of Fund Development and Communications.


Join or donate to the Stigma Ends at CU or the Carleton Neuroscience Society teams supporting Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.