FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It was an evening full of emotion, compassion and understanding on Thursday at the Lido for the FSJ Community Couch Conversation.
Collaboratively hosted by Healthy FSJ and the Fort St. John Community Action Team, the Opioid Dialogues was co-hosted by Julianne Kucheran and Edwina Nearhood.
Mayor Lori Ackerman gave an emotional dedication to the event in honour of those who are affected by drug addictions. Ackerman lost her brother to substance use.
Six health professionals, who specialize in drug use and addictions were part of the opioid panel.
The main message conveyed by the panel is that community support is key when dealing with addictions.
“Those who suffer from addictions within Fort St. John are a part of your family and that the community must come together and work as one”, said Amanda Trotter executive director for the Women’s Resource Society.
The panel agreed that more resources need to be made available for substance users in Fort St. John.
“There is a disparity for those who receive help and treatment. The poor suffer. You’re very lucky if you are able to afford it”, said Connie Greyeyes of the Nenan Dane zaa Deh Zona Family Services Society.
The panel concluded that there is more work to be done and the discussions must continue.
Afterwards, personal stories of addiction were shared by those who have been touched by drugs and addiction.
Each guest stated that there is no shame in addictions and that it can happen to anyone no matter your background.
In a statement from Healthy FSJ, the goal of Community Couch Conversation is to foster a supportive evening, where the community comes together to learn, listen and think about how we can be there for one another to build a healthy and resilient community in the face of the opioid crisis.