(U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Public domain)

Mission being challenged by growing opioid crisis

Community Opioid Dialogue will be held in Mission on Thursday, Jan. 31

A Community Opioid Dialogue will be held in Mission on Thursday, Jan. 31.

Kirsten Hargreaves, Mission’s manager of social development, said the event came about after she and others applied for funding to help Mission better understand its statistics – where the hot spots are for overdoses and if enough services are being provided.

Funding for a community dialogue was acquired from the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research.

“We are now doing that at two levels,” Hargreaves said. “There’s a series of youth dialogues that are happening within our school district … Those are kind of youth panels, youth-led dialogues, speaking with adults and parents around youth perspectives on the issue.”

The other portion is looking at perceptions of opioid use in Mission. A survey has been distributed around the community for the past few weeks.

One of the first pieces of business at the Opioid Dialogue will be to share what those perceptions are.

“What income level is most common for those using opioids? Why do people use opioids? All those kind of questions. We’re interested in knowing what the public believes to be true and then comparing that to some research,” Hargreaves said.

Michael Boronowski, manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives for the district, wrote in an email, “As a community, Mission is being challenged by the growing opioid crisis. It has had a damaging impact on our citizens both directly and indirectly – from those who use opioids, to their families and friends, first responders, businesses and the general public. As a relatively small community with fewer resources than some of our larger neighbours, it is imperative that Mission citizens work together as a community to promote the health and wellness of all residents.”

The district’s website says, “As a community, we do not just want to be reactive, we want to be proactive. For this to happen we need to develop collaborative relationships, share our collective wealth of knowledge and learn from and with each other.”

Boronowski also said, “Dialogue can help a community understand itself as a complex entity with various voices, needs and desires. It can help build bridges between people who have opposing views or have never had a chance to meet and talk before.”

The event is being held by a collaboration of community partners in Mission – including the District of Mission’s social development department, Community Health, Fraser House, School District 75 and the newly formed Mission Community Addictions Action Table – who are inviting the public to participate in roundtable discussions.

The event will take place from 7-9 p.m. at the Mission Leisure Centre.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and light refreshments will be provided.

Registration for this event is encouraged. Visit mission.ca to register.

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