Amber Houle Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Addictions are at the heart of many societal issues faced in the modern era.

Whether a family member is suffering from an addiction, or a person in the community is trying to overcome the burden of their addiction, the impacts can be felt on various levels. To better understand the plight of having an addiction, Family and Community Support Services from Nampa/Northern Sunrise County, Grimshaw and Peace River are teaming up with Alberta Health Services, Sagitawa Friendship Society, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Northern Indigenous Health to hold an Addictions Don’t Discriminate exhibit from April 25-27.

“The exhibit is designed to inspire understanding, empathy, and action,” says Nampa/NSC FCSS director Amber Houle.

“Addiction is often seen as a moral failing or character flaw, but research shows that like many chronic illnesses, there is a combination of genetic, developmental, social, and environmental factors that influence a person’s lived experience and their likelihood of developing an addiction,” she adds.

Houle explains the societal stigma is one of the reasons many people do not go to get treatment for their addiction or reach out to get support. Part of the purpose of organizing this exhibit was to help alleviate some of the misconceptions behind addictions, so people can see that what they’re going through is not something to be ashamed of and that there are ways to seek assistance.

“Together with our partners, we are working to break the stigma by providing information about addiction, addressing the judgments about people who use drugs, and providing a safe and supportive environment for people to seek help, all through sharing real stories of lived experience,” Houle says.

“Through the power of storytelling, this exhibit offers a glimpse into the complex world of addiction, uncovering the human experience that lies beneath the statistics and stigma. Six unique stories, showcased in connection to one another, push us to look beyond someone’s substance use and into the lived experience of each individual with empathy and compassion, to help us understand that Addictions Don’t Discriminate,” she adds.

Houle explains that professionals, people experiencing addiction, caregivers of someone experiencing addictions, students and all other community members should attend the exhibit, noting that everyone will benefit from experiencing the displays.

“We have heard that people are struggling with addictions and that there is stigma surrounding addictions,” she says.

“This is an opportunity to educate people and hopefully aid in the prevention of addictions or at least, to start talking and breaking down the stigma associated with seeking help.”

Addictions Don’t Discriminate is an exhibit that travels throughout the province providing information to communities who request it. The exhibit will take at least an hour to walk through, but Houle explains because addictions impact everyone it is vital to learn more about addictions so we can treat people with empathy, compassion, and help them see the root of their addiction.

The free public viewing will be held at the Sagitawa Friendship Society Gymnasium from April 25-27, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter – South Peace News –

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 07, 2023 at 10:52

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta
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