They are shunned when they seek medical care, when they try to find housing and when they look for employment.
Locals who use drugs and have stories to tell about living with that stigma in the Kootenays are the subjects of a multi-part video series from social outreach group ANKORS.
“They’re very intimate,” said ANKORS executive director Cheryl Dowden. “I feel like people were very authentic and they were also extremely vulnerable but resilient, as well, in what they had to say. I hope people connect to that.”
Dowden said the series is funded by the provincial Community Action Initiative and was created to represent the priorities of the Nelson Fentanyl Task Force.
She hopes the videos help alleviate some of the issues faced by community members seeking help from services many take for granted.
“If the first thing that we’re doing is seeing somebody’s addiction and defining them in that way, then we’re not even seeing the human being and we’re not connecting first person-to-person. We’re connecting through the lens of stigma and we need to remove that.”