Cannabis, vaping, harm reduction to be discussed
As they prepare for their next phase of community sessions, a spokesperson for Rural Truth Matters says the idea is to address various topics, including cannabis, but also vaping and other issues, along with harm reduction tools.
Rural Truth Matters is the cannabis education and substance user support project at the Tri-county Women’s Centre.
Billed as “community-led conversations,” the first session in the next round of meetings is
scheduled for Jan. 13 at NSCC Burridge campus in Yarmouth from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
“The first year we did sessions all over the tri-counties on just basic cannabis information and our project,” said Joan Donaldson, project coordinator. “Part B, for the next year, we’re going back to those communities.”
Cannabis, of course, will be among the topics addressed, among other substances. Vaping has been in the news a lot lately and will be discussed too, Donaldson said, as will harm reduction tools, including Naloxone and safe-injection supplies.
Federal funding for the Tri-county Women’s Centre’s cannabis education and substance user support project was announced last year, right around the time recreational cannabis became legal in Canada. A year later, cannabis edibles are now legal, although they aren’t available yet.
“We’re going to be talking about those,” Donaldson said. “I think that’s a real concern for people. They’re concerned about what (edibles) will look like? How safe is this? How are they going to be sold? Are they going to be attractive to children?”
Speaking more generally about the Rural Truth Matters initiative, Donaldson notes that a cornerstone of the project is that there is no stigma or judgment.
“We realize that people are using cannabis and other substances in our community,” she said. “If that’s the case, instead of judging and stigmatizing these people, how can we reduce the harm of what they’re doing through education and supplies and those kinds of things?”
The Rural Truth Matters team includes a project navigator for each of the three counties, including Kelly Foxton, who works out of Digby and who spoke a bit about working with young people.
“The emphasis is on connecting with youth in whatever capacity makes them feel comfortable around us as adults and mentors,” she said. “The end goal is to establish these relationships and then help mentor them to be peer supports for youth their own age.”
The idea, over the longer term, she said, “is for the project to be sustainable so that the youth really take an interest in what other youth are doing and how healthy they are and how they’re thinking about things.”
At the time of the interview, Foxton and her fellow project navigators were a couple of days away from a trip to Halifax, where they would have a chance to learn more about what’s being done there, “so that we can kind of keep that on our radar as we’re sort of seeking to understand what works down here.”
Discussing the cannabis education & substance user support project (Rural Truth Matters) at the Tri-county Women’s Centre are, from left, Judy Greene, project therapist; Trish Mccourt, executive director of the Tri-county Women’s Centre; Kelly Foxton, Angela Goudey and Colette Melanson, project navigators for Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne counties, respectively; and Joan Donaldson, project co-ordinator. ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO