It is National Addictions Awareness Week November 19-25. To help foster community awareness, Addictions Don’t Discriminate is coming to Medicine Hat. Addictions Don’t Discriminate is a walk-through interactive exhibit of several life stories from people who have experienced addiction. The Addictions Don’t Discriminate exhibit will be taking place at the Esplanade November 21-25 between 12:00-5:00 pm in Medicine Hat. This event is being hosted by the City of Medicine Hat, the Medicine Hat Drug Coalition (including SafeLink Alberta), Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, and the Medicine Hat Health Foundation.
The exhibit is made up of several people’s stories of substance use and their life experiences. The goal of the exhibit is to bring about empathy and understanding for people who use substances and experience addiction. Addictions Don’t Discriminate uses narratives to show the many complex factors that may lead to substance use. Addiction is often seen as a moral failing, or as someone’s “fault”, but Addictions Don’t Discriminate wants to dispel that myth. People may believe they know who someone with an addiction is and what they look like; the truth is, addiction can impact anyone’s life. People use substances in many ways and for a variety of reasons, all of which are valid.
Substance use is incredibly stigmatized and misunderstood in our community. My hope is that many people take the time to see the exhibit. I hope that people’s beliefs are challenged, and they can see the people behind the stories that are showcased. The reality is that people in your community who use substances are your neighbors. There is a saying that the opposite of addiction is connection. People who use drugs in your community deserve a place in it, they deserve to have a community that cares about them and sees them as people, not problems.
If you use substances, to you I say, welcome to my community. You are valued and I am so glad you are here, just as you are.
If you are wanting community connection, our Medicine Hat office and drop-in space is located at 411 North Railway St. and we are open Monday to Friday from 1pm-4pm.
If you are looking to get involved in the Medicine Hat Drug Coalition, follow them on their Facebook page for information on meetings and events.