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Play, seminar and forum focus on meth addiction

CKFR Station 52’s Capt. Ted Fry accepts the firefighter-shaped trophy from Legend Harley-Davidson’s John Towers after the crowd voted the station the winner of the inaugural “Put Your Chili Where Your Mouth Is!” chili cook-off. - Photo by Sean Lamphere
CKFR Station 52’s Capt. Ted Fry accepts the firefighter-shaped trophy from Legend Harley-Davidson’s John Towers after the crowd voted the station the winner of the inaugural “Put Your Chili Where Your Mouth Is!” chili cook-off.
— image credit: Photo by Sean Lamphere

A series of public and professional educational events about addiction take place in Abbotsford next Wednesday and Thursday.

The events begin with the Headlines Theatre play Meth on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Location is North Poplar Fine Arts elementary (32041 Marshall Rd.).

Meth begins with the premise that addicts come from somewhere, a community. And it is within the community that many potential solutions dwell. The play offers an innovative way of looking at addiction, how it happens, and what can be done.

After the actors have presented the play, the members of the audience will be invited to stop the action, stand in for the characters, and change the play’s outcome.

The actors are former meth addicts or people affected by meth addiction.

Headlines Theatre is a Vancouver company that specializes in opening dialogue on community issues. Artistic director David Diamond has directed projects throughout Canada and the U.S., as well as in many other countries.

Headlines has been operating for 25 years. It has produced hundreds of projects in collaboration with First Nations and multicultural communities through workshops and Forum Theatre events around the world. 

The presentation of this production in Abbotsford is funded by the Fraser Health Authority and the Abbotsford Community Foundation.

Abbotsford Community Services is co-ordinating promotion and ticket sales and providing addictions counsellors for public information after the show. B.C. Community Corrections is providing local production assistance.

Admission is by donation. As seating is limited, registration is required by calling Abbotsford Community Services at 604-859-7681.

Meth will also tour 27 other B.C. communities, including Chilliwack (Jan. 15) and Mission (Jan. 16). (Note: The play depicts drug use and explicit language.)

The following day at 2 p.m., a seminar for people working with addictions and rehabilitation takes place in the Jasbir Saran room at Abbotsford Community Services (2420 Montrose Ave.).

Hungry Ghosts: Origins and Treatment of the Addiction Process features Dr. Gabor Mate, addictions specialist and resident physician to the Portland Hotel.

The Portland Hotel in Vancouver is a leading example of transitional housing for people with both addictions and mental health issues.

Mate will present recent research findings about addiction’s psychological characteristics and explain how it works in the brain, with an emphasis on the treatment and counselling of addiction. 

Mate’s three books are all Canadian bestsellers and have been published internationally. His presentations are based on experience in family practice, on his work with drug addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and on his research into the nature and sources of addiction.

Tickets for the seminar are $40 general and $25 for students. To register, call Abbotsford Community Services at 604-859-7681. Credit cards are accepted.

Also on Jan. 18, a public forum on crystal meth abuse takes place at 7 p.m. at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium (32315 South Fraser Way).

Guest speakers include Angela Marshall, a youth and family therapist with Fraser House Alcohol and Drug Outpatient Society. She offers a frank presentation using images, demonstrations of paraphernalia, and discussion to increase awareness and understanding of the effects of crystal meth.

Attorney General John Les also appears as a guest speaker. 

A panel discussion follows. Panelists include Dr. Gabor Mate; Ken Skilnick, provincial court judge; and representatives of Fraser Health, Impact Youth Addiction/Prevention Services, Abbotsford Police, and the Abbotsford school board.

The panel will be moderated by Milt Walker, executive director of the Kinghaven Peardonville House Society. 

There will be opportunities to ask questions of the speakers. Families and community groups are urged to attend.  (Some content may not be appropriate for young children.)

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