A community discussion about legal substance use is coming up April 11.
The facilitator is Dr. Ross Laird, a clinical consultant, author and educator, who works with communities and organizations tackling substance use, trauma, addictions and mental wellness.
“The idea is to provide members of the community with an opportunity to get together and talk about what healthy substance use looks like,” Laird told The Progress about the event at the Cultural Centre. Organizers are also offering a free catered meal.
Approaching thorny topics in a relaxed and “non-pathologizing way,” will allow folks to talk about what they are seeing in their families and the community.
“It’s not useful to talk about it in isolation,” Laird said. “It’s often a problem of underlying mental health issues and trauma. The situation that families often find themselves in is that they don’t have enough knowledge, and they don’t have a safe place to talk about it.”
The event could be that safe space for some people.
“Many in the community do use substances in a social way, and most do it without lasting harm,” Laird said.
But how to explore and navigate the boundaries over what is healthy and what is not?
Of the two most commonly used substances in society — alcohol and cannabis — the event will focus more on booze because it causes the most harm and the most death statistically. But it will also touch on cannabis use in the wake of legalization in Canada.
The patterns of use for both are changing, the facilitator explained.
“For cannabis things have changed because it’s now legal, and for alcohol it’s that Canadians are drinking a little bit more in general, and use among youth has also gone up.”
Rather than allowing the subject matter to stay stigmatized and relegated to whispers behind closed doors, they’re taking a community forum approach and bringing it out of the shadows.
Attendees will enjoy a free catered dinner from Frankie’s Italian Kitchen, with alcohol available by purchase.
Finding the Balance: Legal Substance Use in Everyday Life, April 11, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cultural Centre. Register before April 8, at https://legalsubstanceuse.eventbrite.ca