Strong peer-focused model
A Q&A with Heather Paddison and Troy Romanow of the Fort St. John CAT.
“I feel like I am someone that is helping my community. That’s the biggest thing that has happened to me. I went from a community-taker to a community-giver,” – Troy Romanow, Steering Committee Member
Members of Community Action Initiative sat down with Heather Paddison, Community Health Educator and Troy Romanow, CAT Steering Committee Member to discuss the evolutions, learnings and collaboration within the Fort St. John CAT. Here's what they had to say.
After I got out of addiction treatment, I started joining meetings with Northern Sun Helpers, a peer group that is a member of the Fort St. John CAT, and I’ve been at basically every CAT meeting since. The biggest thing I bring to the CAT is the voice of reality – what it is like to be a person with lived experience in a group of people that is made up of 95% non-lived experience, which is extremely intimidating. Now I’m one of the guys who’s lucky enough to facilitate a community lunch program that’s supported by the CAT, and it’s been going for 40 straight weeks. This work has changed my life completely.
Peers get to choose which working group they want to join and are really involved in working groups. At one of the working groups I was involved with, we created a short documentary called It’s Here, about the opioid crisis and how it has affected Fort St. John. We had people from the school district, doctors, the mayor, and other folks involved in this documentary, and it came across as a very powerful message. You may think because we’re 1300 km away from Victoria, the only kind of drug up here is marijuana, but the reality is very different. There is a lot of fentanyl in Fort St. John. Per population, we have one of the highest rates of overdose in the province.
Society of Narcotic and Opioid Wellness needed in Fort St. John
Creating safe space, battling stigma of addiction
Alaska Highway News
Overdose Awareness Week proclaimed for August 27 to 31
Alaska Highway News
Addiction support discussed at the Community Couch Conversation