Opioid Dialogues

A photo of several people in a hall, talking and sharing a meal
People talking and sharing food at an Opioid Dialogues event in Duncan.

Dialogue is a method of communication that involves two-way conversation in which people not only speak but also really listen to one another. This kind of listening involves empathy. Each partner in a dialogue is curious about the experiences of the other partners – about their assumptions, beliefs and values. The goal is to leave the conversation with a better understanding.

Using dialogue to address the opioid crisis means far more than simply talking about drugs. After all, addiction is not simply about drugs but results from a breakdown in the fabric or connectedness of human community. Dialogue needs to help us understand each other and build social relationships that support individual needs, preferences and autonomy. The breakdown of this integration of the community and all its members is at the root of addiction. Dialogue is an important tool in re-building this integration.

Apply for an Opioid Dialogue grant. (Note: you may need to open this PDF in a viewer such as Adobe Acrobat, as opposed to your web browser, in order to fill out the application form.)

Dialogue Highlights

  • A police officer and a parent sitting at the same table told each other stories about how the opioid crisis affected them. "Both parties got to share their sides and then they both admitted to how hard it must be to be on the other side of things."
  • In a town of citizens "numbed" by the opioid problem, a coalition brought people with diverse views and backgrounds together through meal sharing and even poker games. “Dialogue is about a suspension of judgment that helps us to listen to each other. It’s about a new way of seeing each other."
  • Event organizers who invited diverse people to tell their stories through photography, followed by conversations with visitors, were impressed by "how easily the community came together and interacted with each other." They were also struck by how proud people were to be invited into such a creative conversation around drug use, "and that included health care providers and people who have experience with opiates.”
  • At the end of a large community dialogue, "the energy in the room of over 100 participants had shifted from ‘You need to do something about the needles’ to ‘What role can I play?'"
  • See more in our Opioid Dialogues photo album.

Fraser Health

  • Abbotsford Fentanyl Working Group
  • Agassiz-Harrison Healthy Communities Committee
  • Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness
  • City of Revelstoke
  • District of Mission
  • Fraser Northwest LAT (Tri-Cities)
  • Hope Community Coalition
  • Langley Opioid Response Collaborative
  • Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society(Langley) 
  • Lower Mainland Purpose Society  (New Westminster)
  • Maple Ridge Opioid Overdose Response Team
  • Matsqui Abbotsford Impact Society (part of Abbotsford Fentanyl Working Group)
  • Overdose Community Action Team (Chilliwack)
  • Overdose Community Action Team (Sto:lo First Nation)
  • Pacific Community Resources Society (Chilliwack)
  • Sources Community Resources (White Rock)
  • Surrey North Delta LAT
  • Surrey Vulnerable Women and Girls Working Group 
  • Video: Moments to Milestones: Engaging with People who Use Substances (Fraser Health)

Interior Health

  • Addiction Matters Kamloops 
  • Bridge Youth & Family Services Society (Kelowna)
  • Boundary LAT (Grand Forks)
  • Canadian Mental Health Association (Vernon)
  • Downtown Vernon Association
  • East Kootenay Addiction Services Society (Cranbrook)
  • Interior Health FNHA (Penticton)
  • Nelson Fentanyl Task Force

Vancouver Coastal Health

  • Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (Vancouver, Kelowna)
  • PHS Community Services Society (Vancouver, Victoria)
  • Powell River SUSTAIN
  • Richmond Addiction Services Society
  • Sea to Sky Community Services (Squamish)
  • Sunshine Coast LAT (Sechelt)

Island Health

  • Cool Aid Society (Victoria)
  • Discovery SMART (Victoria)
  • The Foundry (Victoria)
  • Nanaimo Community Action Team
  • Oceanside Public Health Services (Parksville)
  • Our Cowichan Communities Health Network (Duncan)
  • People for a Healthy Community on Gabriola Island Society
  • Port Alberni Shelter Society
  • Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre (Port Hardy)
  • Salt Spring and Southern Gulf Islands Community Services  Society (Ganges)
  • South Island Community Overdose Response Network (Victoria)
  • Umbrella Society (Victoria)
  • VIU Child and Youth Care Program Centre for Community Outreach and Care (Nanaimo)

Northern Health

  • Haida Gwaii LAT (Queen Charlotte)
  • Positive Living North (Dawson Creek)
  • Positive Living North (Smithers, Prince George)
  • Saik’uz First Nation and Vanderhoof RCMP
  • Urban Matters (Fort St. John)

CISUR administers funds provided by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General as part of the province’s commitment under the Joint Task Force on Overdose Response to support community dialogues that will increase understanding and community capacity to act collectively in addressing the overdose crisis. Community coalitions are encouraged to apply for an Opioid Dialogue grant.(Note: you may need to open this PDF in a viewer such as Adobe Acrobat, as opposed to your web browser, in order to fill out the application form.)

Related projects