Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Opioid Chapters – life stories

A new joint multimedia project of the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN) and the website Healthy Debate. Please see details below and share with your respective networks.

“Drugs were in my system since I was two years old,” says Henry, a community services worker who lives in Ottawa. “The only difference between me and others is that they went to school and had a childhood. Yeah, there are the opioids. But there is also the life line that gets you there.”

The Opioid Chapters features Henry’s story along with those of 10 other people whose lives have been profoundly affected by opioids. A joint project of the Ontario Drug Policy and Research Network (ODPRN) and the website Healthy Debate, this multimedia online series features powerful first-person narratives from people who take opioids for chronic pain, those with an opioid use disorder, and providers who work with both.

The stories reveal the singularity of each person’s experience with respect to opioids. Benjamin, a young father and student, is a strong proponent of harm reduction. For Fran, the best way forward from a history of addiction and ongoing chronic pain is Suboxone. Rupa, a family physician, partners with patients in an effort to help them taper off high doses of opioids. Michael has had chronic pain for 15 years and tried multiple treatments; opioids are what allow him to function. 

Taken together, these accounts also reveal the complexity of addressing what many are today calling an opioid crisis. There is no one solution. But to begin to make positive change, we need to understand the unique impact opioids have on different people’s lives. The Opioid Chapters offers a window into the difficult journeys and hard-won successes of people affected by opioids, and the importance of listening carefully to their experiences.

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