The Vancouver Island Health Authority has created a language guide for health care workers dealing with people suffering from alcohol or drug abuse.

The language guide is designed to help eliminate the stigma surrounding substance dependency.

Island Health says it provides words and tools that will help foster a positive connection between health-care providers and people seeking help.

With community support, acute care, and harm reduction staff in VIHA developed the guide.

Island Health’s Regional Harm Reduction Coordinator Tracey Thompson says health-care providers are on the front line in the opioid crisis, “and what they say and do matters.”

She says language can “create safety. encourage connection, and reduce stigma.

VIHA says when people arrive at the hospital, “it is often one of the worst days of their life,” and racism and stigma towards people needing care can negatively influence the way people engage with the health care system.