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Inform Yourself about Substance Use in Rural Primary & Community Care

The political, poignant and community predicament of substance use in rural areas is an exercise of investigation and discovery. It is imperative that there is ongoing education to accompany this process. What can we reflect on these past five years on legalization of cannabis? What do people need to know about Naloxone as the opioid crises persists? 

Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) presented a chance to ponder these subjects of interest during our latest virtual lecture. On Tuesday, January 9th, 2024 from 12-1 PM via Zoom, Dr. Mike Beazely spoke on the topic “Addressing Substance Use in Rural Primary & Community Care”. In particular, he focused on three substances: cannabis, opioids, and psychedelics. He positioned his conversation on substance use outside of addiction treatment centres, focusing on community professionals. What happens and what resources can you use if you are a family physician, a pharmacist or a social worker within your community? His talk ventured both into reflections on past discoveries regarding substances and what we have potentially to look forward to. 

Photo of Dr. Mike Beazely, Research Chair of Rural Substance Use at Gateway CERH

This presentation was informed by Dr. Beazely’s extensive research into the subject area. Dr. Beazely is a Research Chair of Rural Substance Use at Gateway CERH and an associate professor at University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. His interests are concerned with the role of health professionals in reducing harms associated with substance use and the intersection between drug use and ongoing pharmaceutical care. 

Accompanying Dr. Beazely as panelists were Ashley Cid, PhD Candidate at Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. She is a licensed pharmacist and works as a researcher for Ontario’s Pharmacists’ Association, and Kyla Agtarap, a hospital pharmacy resident from Ottawa completing her residency with the Montfort Hospital and the Ottawa Hospital. Cid discussed her research into the disparity of accessing Naloxone between different centres and the associated stigma of distribution. Agtarap delved into psychedelics, more colloquially known as ‘magic mushrooms’, and future research opportunities and use of those substances for OCD, anxiety and/or depression. 

To learn about these topics in more detail, the full lecture can be found linked below.  

Gateway CERH has explored substance use in a previous lecture. Katie Sparling, Gateway CERH Research Assistant and Opiate counsellor presented a lecture titled, "Substance Use in Rural Landscapes: Navigating Challenges and Cultivating Solutions". This lecture explored community resources available for those suffering from substance use disorders within our community through the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). Watch the lecture here:

There are many resources discussed in the lecture that can help you become better informed as a healthcare professional, such as social worker, doctor, nurse or pharmacist, or a lay person interested in expanding your understanding on substances. 

If you have any questions and/or queries from this past lecture, feel free to reach out: or 

If you would like to register for this free, monthly lecture series, or explore our past lecture, check out our lecture series page:

The views expressed in this lecture may not necessarily reflect Gateway CERH’s views or opinions, but we believe in providing a platform for a range of perspectives and thoughtful discussion. 

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis or has suicide-related concerns, you can connect with a responder to get help without judgment by calling or texting 9-8-8. It’s toll-free, 24/7 with support in English or French.  

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