How an art installation changed the mental models of addiction

Data, art, and lived experience provide powerful ways of addressing addiction and the opioid crisis. 

Why It Matters

Governments of all levels have struggled to address the high rates of opioid misuse and addiction and the startling number of opioid-related deaths in Canada. There are innovative approaches gaining traction that could hold the key to making advancements in communities.

Over the past three years, governments of all levels have struggled to address the high rates of opioid misuse and addiction and the startling number of opioid-related deaths across Canada. In 2018, 4,460 apparent opioid-related deaths were reported — 775 of which occurred in Alberta alone.

Since 2013, Strathcona County in Alberta has seen a 166% increase in the number of drug-related emergency room visits – 80% of these visits were attributed to opioid use.

We wanted to address this issue in a new way. We convened a Community Drug Strategy Committee to act, with a membership drawn from 16 community partners, including Alberta Health Services, our local primary care network, law enforcement staff from the RCMP, and grassroots addictions and community organizations.

We aimed to do something beyond traditional awareness-building information campaigns.

 


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