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VERNON SHARES | Downtown Vernon

Posted on Jan 8, 2019

VERNON SHARES | Downtown Vernon


The BC Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General has provided funding to The University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) to support community dialogues in response to the opioid crisis in British Columbia.

CARBC has extensive eperience in the addictions field in building bridges and bringing people together. CARBC is committed to supporting communities in understanding dialogue and planning and implementing strategies to promote dialogue in their unique contexts and settings.

Vernon has been identified as a priority community regarding the provincial overdose response. A quickly growing gap exists between the downtown business community and their customers, and the service agencies and their clients. There is a disconnect between these groups which contributes significantly to tension and divisions in our community. There is a real and definite need for information and understanding so our community can make better choices and demonstrate respect for all members of our community.

Reprinted from Community Dialogues on Opioid Use, UViC

Opioid overdose deaths in British Columbia have led to the declaration of a public health emergency. But different people hold different views about how to address the emergency in our communities. No one has all the answers. Even the best efforts of recognized experts have not solved the crisis or reduced the overdoses. Now is a good time to begin having honest and open community dialogues about drugs and drug policy.

Dialogue to address the opioid crisis is far more than talking about drugs. Since addiction is not simply about drugs but results from a breakdown in the fabric or connectedness of human community, the dialogue needs to help us understand each other and build social relationships that support individual needs, preferences and autonomy. The breakdown of this integration of the community and all its members is at the root of addiction. Dialogue is an important tool in re-building this integration.

Dialogue is a method of communication that involves two-way conversation where people not only speak to each other but also really listen. This kind of listening involves empathy. Each partner in a dialogue is curious about the experiences of the other partners – about their assumptions, beliefs, and values. The goal is to leave the conversation with a better understanding.

We can all contribute to the dialogue that needs to happen in our province. You are encouraged to share your stories and experiences to help make positive change in our community that will help us move towards removing the stigma associated with opioids.

Please contact the dialogue facilitator, Carole Fawcett, directly via email at [email protected] to share your story. Stories can be kept completely anonymous if preferred and any personal information collected will be confidential. Stories will be collected and compiled into a printed book and shared on social media.

All it takes is the willingness to be curious about and connect with other community members holding different views. The more we devote ourselves to listening empathically and to caring about people who are different from ourselves, the healthier and stronger we will all be as we work towards freeing our communities from the opioid crisis and beginning the healing process.