Recent Articles:

Below are past articles previously published in Drugs & Addiction Magazine. These are filled with current and relevant information and statistics and can be used as great conversation starters with youth.

A “gold standard” study finds deleting Facebook is great for your mental health

January 31, 2019

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day!

January 30, 2019

FDA’s opioids adviser accuses agency of having ‘direct’ link to crisis

January 25, 2019

New York Passes a Ban on ‘Conversion Therapy’ After Years-Long Efforts

January 22, 2019

Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback scheme

January 17, 2019

Resolve to Detox Your Social Circle

January 16, 2019

Easing test anxiety boosts low-income students’ biology grades

January 15, 2019

Craving insight into addiction

January 14, 2019

New book looks at the heart of Edmonton’s opioid epidemic through stories and art

January 11, 2019

People with low self-esteem tend to seek support in ways that backfire, study finds

January 10, 2019

Ban on cigarette sales in NYC pharmacies starts Jan. 1

January 9, 2019

Too many problems? Maybe coping isn’t the answer

January 8, 2019

Muslim youth group cleans up national parks amid government shutdown

January 7, 2019

For-profit college cancels $500M in student debt after fraud allegations

January 4, 2019

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

January 3, 2019

Sexting Teens

December 19, 2018

Screen Addiction: Today’s Biggest Threat to Schooling?

December 19, 2018

Texting Etiquette & Safety: 5 Rules for Keeping Your Kids & Teens Secure & Drama-Free

December 17, 2018

Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples’ rights

December 17, 2018

New Canadians sworn in as Winnipeg museum celebrates International Human Rights Day

December 13, 2018

Statement by the Prime Minister on Human Rights Day

December 12, 2018

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms

December 12, 2018

The Illustrated Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 11, 2018

Homeless man with terminal cancer donates to holiday toy drive

December 10, 2018

Malala Yousafzai Honored by Harvard for Her Work Promoting Girls’ Education

December 7, 2018

Boy gets Colorado town to overturn snowball fight ban

December 6, 2018

Fortnite addiction is forcing kids into video game rehab

December 5, 2018

Clarity on Cannabis

December 4, 2018

Mental health education recommended for RCMP members following inquest

November 30, 2018

Social Media – 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

November 28, 2018

Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence

November 27, 2018

#GIVINGTUESDAY TODAY ONLY YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHED

November 27, 2018

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

November 26, 2018

#ENDViolence in schools

November 23, 2018

Statement by Minister MacLeod on National Child Day

November 22, 2018

November 20th marks National Children’s Day across Canada

November 21, 2018

National Child Day

November 20, 2018

Facts & Figures

November 16, 2018

The Push For Change®

November 15, 2018

Winter Giving 101

November 14, 2018

First came the stroke, then the inspiration…

November 13, 2018

Canadian Youth Speakers Bureau: Scott Hammell

November 9, 2018

John Connors’ brilliant IFTA Award speech

November 9, 2018

Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone

November 8, 2018

This teen pizzeria employee traveled 3 hours to deliver pizza to a man with terminal cancer

November 6, 2018

Video captures joyful law student’s reaction to passing her bar exam

November 5, 2018

More teens in Sask. are smokers than in any other province: Health Canada survey

November 5, 2018

MADD Canada launches annual red ribbon campaign in Halifax

November 2, 2018

Young cannabis users who quit see improvements in memory, ability to learn

October 31, 2018

Nova Scotia’s Health Department says talks underway for province’s first overdose prevention site

October 31, 2018

Crystal meth eclipsing opioids on the Prairies: ‘There’s no lack of meth on the street’

October 29, 2018

Opioids Don’t Discriminate: An Interactive Experience.

October 26, 2018

Guelph police warn drug users of spike in purple fentanyl

October 25, 2018

Canadians share powerful stories of teachers who made lasting impressions

October 24, 2018

What exactly are you inhaling when you vape?

October 23, 2018

Study ADHD Medication Overdoses

June 14, 2018

A Cry for Guidance

January 18, 2018

Vaping 101 – Health Relation, Benefits, Dangers, Fun Facts and More

January 2, 2018

Your Friend’s Substance Abuse

September 15, 2017

Depression

September 15, 2017

Methamphetamines

September 15, 2017

Alcohol

September 15, 2017

25 Healthy Ways to Feel Better

September 15, 2017

New book looks at the heart of Edmonton’s opioid epidemic through stories and art

January 11, 2019

By OMAR MOSLEH   StarMetro Edmonton Thu., Jan. 10, 2019

EDMONTON—To Larry Anderson, the poppy flower is a double-edged sword. While on one hand, it represents the valour of fallen soldiers, it’s also responsible for the anguish of thousands of Edmontonians who find themselves in the grips of an opioid addiction.

But unlike veterans who die in war, few remember those who lose their lives to drugs, Anderson says.

“Opioids serve a purpose. They were created and designed to heal pain. But because they’re so powerful, they become addictive,” Anderson says while reflecting on his poem, My Poppy, featured in a new book by the Bissell Centre focused on raising awareness about the effects of the opioid epidemic on Edmonton’s inner city.

“The people who are in chronic pain, they didn’t do anything to get that way. You can’t blame them for being in pain. So the opioids on that side help them. On the other side, they hurt them.”

Anderson’s poem is featured along dozens of others in Cycles & Circles, a compilation of stories, poetry and art about addiction created by the Bissell Centre in collaboration with clients, local artists and authors.

In addition to raising awareness about the opioid crisis and destigmatizing addiction, the book puts a strong emphasis on harm reduction, and includes a resources section providing information on supervised consumption sites, how to access and use naloxone kits, needle exchange services, and more.

Kaitlyn Beaton, Bissell Centre’s director of community programs, said the organization saw a need to highlight how the opioid crisis was afflicting the inner city due to the sheer prevalence of opioid overdoses on site and the increased number of people they see facing substance use disorders.

“I would say over the last five or so years, we have seen a real change in the inner city around addiction with opioids … A decade ago, I had barely even heard of fentanyl. Now it’s like you can’t go through the day without talking about it,” she said.

But instead of presenting the opioid crisis in stark numbers, they aim to present a more compassionate view of addiction through stories and art.

“I think the book, to me, really highlights the humanness of it, and really I would say the addictions, whether it’s opioids or some other substance, it really comes down to the experience of pain. And that’s a common ground any human can relate to,” Beaton said.

“For us, it was really about how do we give an outlet to express the pain, but also the great beauty and triumph they have faced in their lives?”

Pain and triumph is something Mary-Jo Dion knows well. She has battled alcoholism throughout her life and kicked a heroin addiction in 2013.

Through her three pieces of art accompanied by words in the book, she chronicles her lifelong struggle and what it took for her to get to where she is today.

She remembers the days she would spend numbing her emotions with a bottle in Edmonton’s alleys, until a brush with death forced her to get her life in order.

“It took a drastic part of me to admit I was defeated because I just about froze to death one day,” Dion says while putting the final touches on a dreamcatcher she is making.

“I had to change. I lost everything. I lost my self worth, I lost my kids, I had nothing. I woke up with an empty heart, empty pockets … I had to get out of that lifestyle,” she said.

With the help of faith in a higher power, a 12-step program, friends, family and organizations like the Bissell Centre, she’s now been sober for over a year and has no intentions of looking back.

“In that book, I wrote about my addiction … and I fulfilled my destiny kind of thing. I can say, ‘Hey, I’ve done it.’ I don’t need to cry anymore, I’m happy. I don’t need to be drunk. I can be me.”

She said she chose to participate in the book because she wanted to tell her story, but also because she wants to show others facing addiction that there’s always hope.

“We didn’t have to do this. But I had to be heard. I wanted people to know the struggles and the destruction my life had went through. And how I changed it, and how people helped me change it,” Dion said.

Anderson, who helps facilitate a poetry workshop at Bissell Centre, has also battled addiction. He compares his contributions to the book to a candle that helps illuminate the disorder people in the inner city are facing.

“We can shed light on misconceptions, biases, prejudices and all those things we don’t typically think about. And especially down here, because there’s so many stereotypes about us. You’re down here because you’re stupid, you’re lazy, all these kinds of negative things. And people down here have all kinds of reasons for being here,” Anderson said.

What brings those people together is the emotional, spiritual and physical pain they have endured. He hopes to encourage more individuals to channel those emotions into art, in order to inspire others.

“There’s so much raw talent here, whether it’s in the opioid book, or in general … My intent is to discover, encourage, promote and publish unknown authors,” he said.

Beaton said the Bissell Centre also recognized the need to shine a light on the immense talent that exists in the inner city.

“I wanted to showcase it in a way that really honoured them, but also because people in our community don’t get a lot of recognition for the art that they do,” Beaton said.

“It feels really special. That’s how we see the people we work with and we wanted something they could be proud of as well.”

For Dion, the obstacles she has faced are just one chapter in her life. But she hopes that by sharing her struggles, she can ultimately help others overcome their challenges with addiction.

“That books tells you the feelings. The drawings and paintings, the wording itself, it doesn’t come easily,” Dion said.

“This book will be here after we’re gone. But I hope people will read this and read it kindly. And think, not from the mind, but from the heart. Because what’s in there might help you — it might change you.”

The Bissell Centre will be holding a book launch for Cycles & Circles at its west building on Jan. 18 from noon to 2 p.m.

www.thestar.com