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Episode 1: Dr. Rick Csiernik


This introductory podcast features Dr. Rick Csiernik, a professor in the Province of Ontario but someone who has studied and engaged harm reduction, substance use, and social services from both the front lines to academics. Dr. Csiernik has written many books about drug use and our relationship with these conversations that are worth noting (many of these resources are at the bottom of the page). This podcast is a good introductory piece into the conversations that will be explored throughout this series.


Line Up


Scripture Reading – James 2: 14-26

Conversation – Dr. Rick Csiernik
Dr. Rick Csiernik, Professor of Social Work and Author

HymnLadder to the Stars

Words: Gordon Light
Music: Gordon Light
Performed by: The Common Cup Collective
Permission received from the author and performer.




– Rick invites us to consider the ways in which we engage stigma in the conversation regarding drug use in this country, particuarly the difference between legal and illicit substances. We invite you to wonder about these considerations, why is it that so often our society treats the two so differently?

– Rick talks about the structures and our engagement with them, recognizing that the church needs to be engaged in the wider conversation. We invite you to consider the ways in which your community of faith and yourself as a Christian, may engage further in this conversation. How can we move from engaging people who utilize substances as being “the problem” to recognizing that the structures society has set up is actually the problem?



Wilfrid Laurier University program in Addictions:


The Drug Paradox: An Introduction to the Sociology of Psychoactive Substances in Canada by Tara L. Bruno and Rick Csiernik
Susbtance Use and Abuse: Everything Matters by Rick Csiernik
Responding to the Oppression of Addiction: Canadian Social Work Perspectives Edited by Rick Csiernik and William S. Rowe
Chasing the Scream By Johann Hari
The Care We Dream Of: Liberatory & Transformative Approaches to LGBTQ+ Health by Zena Sharman

Podcast Host and Staff Support



Minister, Justice and Faith Formation

Phone: 416-231-7680  |  1-800-268-3781
Extension: 6773
Email: jdale@united-church.ca 

Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council and Canadian Shield Regional Council

Location: Teleworks and works in the Guthrie office

Role: Jeffrey encourages and connects communities of faith with matters of faith and justice and the regional council in youth and young adult ministry and matters of faith formation and liaises with the General Council in this regard.

Contact Jeffrey about: Affirming Ministry; Camping Ministries; Faith Formation; Guaranteed Income; Harm Reduction; Homelessness; Poverty; Social and Eco-justice; Worship and Music; Youth and Young Adult Ministry, United Church Women (UCW)