“On June 18th, 2016, we received an early morning phone call that Brad was in the hospital from an accidental fentanyl poisoning. And on June 28th, he took his last breath.”
Lorelee Marin speaking in her Mental Health & Addictions portfolio shared her own personal journey with the loss of a family member who was battling mental health challenges and addictions. Her comments came at the opening of the Opioids Don’t Discriminate exhibit that’s now on at the Civic Centre Auditorium.
Marin said her nephew was high functioning, until he wasn’t. He was the life of the party. He would be singing karaoke and masking an undiagnosed mental illness.
She hopes that people will go to the Civic Centre to see the exhibit and set aside judgment.
“No one wakes up thinking my goal in life is to have an addiction. It just happens over time. Think about what are those things that are happening in advance that we could actually change the story so that they don’t move into a substance use disorder. So I hope that when people come, they are really open to the stories, that they set aside judgement and that they are open to building more empathy for themselves and their family and in our community.”
The exhibit is on until Sunday afternoon and organizers say it allows people a chance to view addictions in a manner that peels the stigmas away to reveal the human person.
Marin points to resources that are available in the community like Residents In Recovery, Thorpe Recovery Centre and online resources like lloydminstermentalhealth.ca which lists numerous contacts and supports.
She calls for taking the time to listen to people and building connections in one’s own family and as well the community.
“It might be a neighbour, it might be a family member. But we don’t know the journey that people are on, unless they say I need help or they’re in crisis. And so how do we get to them before they say I need help? We spend time with them and it’s those simple things around creating connections. So know your neighbourhood. Know the kids in your neighbourhood. Build the assets of children and youth in our neighbourhood.”
Marin highlighted the simple things like a smile, opening a door for someone and especially paying attention if someone looks like they are not doing well.
“We’re not asking people to get all invested in other people’s lives, but to do those simple things that help them on their journey.
Strathcona County FCSS developed this travelling exhibit to increase knowledge on opioid addictions. Lloydminster FCSS is welcoming everyone to make time to view it at the Auditorium.
A keynote virtual presentation from Petra Schulz of Moms Stop the Harm will be streamed Friday November 5th at 6:00 p.m. Schulz’s youngest child Danny died of an accidental fentanyl overdose. Residents may register for this online at EventBrite.
Access to the Civic Centre Auditorium will be granted according to COVID health protocols, that is proof of vaccination and/or a negative test within 72 hours. Also, the Auditorium has a maximum capacity of 40 visitors at a time. Mandatory masking and sanitization is required once inside.
More information can be found on the City’s website.
MyLloydminsterNow will present more content from this exhibit over the course of this week.