A new interactive exhibit exploring the impacts and reach of opioid use in the region will soon be open to the public in Beaverlodge. Hosted by the County Family and Community Support Services, ‘Somebody’s Someone – The Opioid Crisis in Our Community’ will look to reduce stigma around opioid use and increase awareness that the drug does not discriminate.
FCSS Manager Kathleen Turner says opioids are a problem facing the community at large, and she is hopeful the exhibit will present publicly available data in a way that impacts the greatest number of residents across the region.
“We wanted a different way to get the message across, and the interactive exhibit really takes people through the journey of three individuals, as they’ve become involved with opioids and what their outcomes have been,” she says.
“Not only deaths but the impact it has on our hospitals and emergency rooms… way more admissions to emergency rooms for substance use issues in our area than other places in the province,” she adds.
According to the latest data from the provincial government, six people died due to a fatal opioid overdose in Grande Prairie in the months of September and October 2021, pushing the year-to-date total for accidental opioid overdoses in the community to 36.
“One of the surprising statistics we’ve found is that the majority of the deaths are happening in private residences, it’s not happening on the streets,” Turner adds.
The event is free and open to the public from Wednesday, March 2nd to Saturday, March 5th at the Beaverlodge Community Centre. The exhibit will be put on in conjunction with the Town’s Beaverlodge and Wembley, along with the Beaverlodge Victim Services Unit Society, Justice for Justice Society, Horse Lake First Nation, Alberta Health Services, Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, Western Cree Tribal Council, and Northreach Society.
Editors note: The previous version of this story had incorrectly stated the exhibit ran from March 3rd-5th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.