August 31 2018: Overdose Awareness Day

When asked ‘what do you want to make Calgarians aware of?’ for International Overdose Awareness Day 2017, our young people shared this video and this poem and we began to understand: many suffering from opioid addiction are also suffering from a loss of will to live.

They shared that addiction is perceived as selfish and consequences for selfish behavior are often the response. Their lived experience and knowledge challenged us to consider the difference between the response ‘they are selfish’ and ‘they don’t want to live’….

Logic’s words “I want you to be alive” kept repeating.

Suicide Prevention week 2017 came just a month later. We searched our Archives for ‘suicide’ and ‘addiction’. 30 years of young people’s writing echoed what we had listened to weeks before. What was mentioned the most in these stories? Relapse.

This time we learnt days following relapse, require a lot of care.

These two projects reminded us how much deeper of an understanding one can get when you listen to lived experience and knowledge. And our sister blog ‘The Listening Project’ was born. An online space to teach, unite and grow understanding. We shared about addiction, relapse and suicide for Overdose Awareness day 2017. This year we searched our archives and called on community to share about recovery. We were lead by the words of a young person at The Doorway, ‘You are stronger than your struggle’.  Please visit The Listening Project: Overdose Awareness to view all 2017 and 2018 submissions and learn from those who can teach us best.

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