As the opioid overdose crisis rages across B.C., a Hope organization is inviting community members to talk about substance use and addiction.
Over 8,000 people died of an overdose across Canada since 2016, Statistics Canada reported Nov. 13. B.C. is home to the highest number of these deaths. As the crisis continues, the Hope and Area Transition Society (HATS) is organizing an information series on the topic, free and open to the public.
Talks will take place on Thursdays in November and January, with the second meeting tonight at the Blue Moose Coffee House.
The series is meant to get community members to explore their own values and move from an ‘us versus them’ to an ‘all of us’ approach of compassion and understanding said Gerry Dyble, executive director of HATS.
“When there’s a lack of understanding people become fearful, because they lack that understanding. Whether it’s homophobia or racism, hatred,” she said.
“We’re not here to change people’s views. You’re always going to have these three camps: The ones that are already supportive, they’re already there, they’re working in this realm already. Then you have those who are on the opposite end, they’re never going to change their views. And then you’ve got the ones in the middle. They’re sort of exploring and they want to learn more and they want to have a better understanding. And it’s that population that we want to really engage with and answer their questions.”
Talks will be interactive, allowing participants to explore their own values and what addiction does to the values and lives of those dealing with substance use. Topics to be discussed include stigma, myths, harm reduction, pain management, and community inclusion.
The information series will take place Thursdays at the Blue Moose from 6 to 8 p.m.: meeting dates are Nov. 29, Jan. 10 and Jan. 24.
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