Langley teens’ art in video honours Overdose Awareness Day

The local project is aimed at combatting the overdose crisis

A video compilation of art created by Langley youths is aimed at raising awareness of the ongoing overdose crisis in B.C.

Last year, 23 youths from high schools across the Langley School District submitted art projects to a contest created by the Child & Youth Mental Health and Substance Abuse local action team.

Youth were invited to show how substance abuse had affected them, someone they love, or the world around them.

The plan was to showcase the pieces of art in early 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the exhibition to go online-only.

The art is now making a comeback in a new medium, as the art is compiled into a video in honour of International Overdose Awareness Day, which is on Aug. 31.

The video is already online, and can be viewed at langleychildren.com.

The group noted that 144 people have died of toxic drug reactions and overdoses in Langley since 2016.

“Now more than ever it is important to raise awareness of the overdose crisis as overdose deaths are spiking under COVID-19,” said Daniel Snyder, chair of the Langley Overdose Response Community Action Table. “May, June, and July have been the three deadliest months since B.C. declared the overdose public health emergency in 2016. We all need to do our part in learning more about this health crisis and help reduce the stigma around substance use.”

READ MORE: Toxic drug deaths on the rise in Langley

“No family should have to experience the sorrow and grief associated with losing a loved one to a toxic drug supply,” said Traci Letts of Moms Stop the Harm. “These deaths are preventable. Community and self stigma increases the harm for those who use substances, often leading to riskier highly dangerous behaviours. Creating space for open honest dialogue can help mitigate these risks and act as a connection point towards a better outcome.”

The rise of fentanyl, a powerful opioid, as a chemical added to many street drugs, has largely driven the sharp increase in overdose deaths since 2015.

Thousands of people have died across B.C. in the last few years, prompting calls from provincial politicians and health authorities to decriminalize simple possession of drugs and move forward on harm reduction approaches.

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