Virtual event

Virtual event aims to break stigma around drug use

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The Providence Center for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation will host a virtual event to discuss the growing problem of the drug toxicity crisis in Kingston and across Canada.

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The virtual event, “Drug Poisoning in Kingston: What we are doing, how you can help,” will run from 7-9 p.m. Monday, free of charge, and will feature speakers from Moms Stop The Harm, the care center integrated from Kingston, and researchers from Queen’s University. The event aims to both highlight the impact of the drug poisoning crisis on the Kingston community and to brainstorm and share possible solutions.

“The real purpose of this event is to look at why the crisis is happening, how it is affecting people in our community, and also what kind of solutions exist and what are the ordinary people in the community who are not involved in this on one day-to-day might be able to do to help be part of the solution,” said Jeremy Milloy, one of the event organizers.

Milloy hopes to see a better understanding of the drug toxicity crisis and more compassion for those who use substances come out of the event.

“We hope that people who attend this event can have conversations with their friends, with their children, with their families about what the crisis is and how it is different from our previous understanding of drug use as a than individual choice. We’re really starting to understand that drug use has a lot more to do with exposure to trauma and lack of support,” Milloy said.

While organizers hope the event will serve a broader educational purpose, Milloy hopes those who attend will also recognize the important role of services like the Integrated Care Center in providing support and care for people who use substances.

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“As COVID continued and took its own toll, the drug poisoning continued. However, it should be noted that in terms of opioid mortality and drug poisoning deaths, Kingston is one of only two health units in Ontario to report a decline in the past year, and this is testament to the work from the integrated care centre,” he said.

Currently, the comprehensive care center is facing a countdown situation as the City of Kingston is unable to provide funding for the service beyond the end of March and no additional funding is secured. . While funding for the hub is under review by the Department of Health, if the province refuses to provide funding, the hub will have to close.

“This is a real opportunity to understand why what is being done here at ICH is really important, why this is an innovative model that other centers in Ontario are considering to provide holistic services,” said Milloy. “It underscores that we have something special here that needs to be funded, and we will again highlight that we have innovative solutions here that the community can support and show that there is a real need for this facility.”

Milloy hopes those attending Monday’s session will be motivated to reach out and join the chorus of voices pushing the Department of Health to fund the hub.

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