SOS: Stories of Substance

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by Rachel Eades

Substance abuse is a pervasive issue that has touched many of our lives. In any Canadian community big or small, stories of alcohol or drug abuse exist hidden away, but from time to time, the stories start to come out. Now it’s time for Mississippi Mills to share our stories.

A Lanark County Municipal Drug Strategy Committee was formed almost 2 years ago to provide current resources, information and ideas to a network of people interested in strengthening resistance to drug and alcohol misuse and abuse. Mississippi Mills has formed a local Committee, and is specifically looking at problems that exist for our population and possible solutions. We have looked at youth alcohol and drug use, adult alcohol consumption, seniors medications, safe disposal of unused narcotics and local available resources. You may have seen the signs initiated by our local committee: "If you see a drunk driver, call 911" posted on our highways, and you will see more public education as a result of our local MDS (Municipal Drug Strategy).

In partnership with our youth centre TYPS, the Almonte and District High School, the Valley Players, and interested people of all ages, the Mississippi Mills Municipal Drug Strategy Committee is currently developing a multi-media theatre production that aims to bring the true stories of substance abuse to light. We are looking for your stories about how alcohol and/or drug abuse has affected you, either directly or indirectly. All shared stories will remain anonymous, so we encourage you to share your stories of struggle and hope with the community.

Selected stories, or compilations of stories, will be integrated into a final theatre performance ‘SOS: Stories of Substance’, which will be performed for local students grade 5 and up, as well as the community at large in the fall.

We all know an Uncle John who drank too much at family parties; some of us know a father who drank too much on a daily basis and became violent; some of us have a sister who is addicted to Oxycontin or a spouse who drinks and smokes pot instead of working; and some of us have a child who can no longer live in our home because of drug addiction. There are many, many stories, and we want to know how alcohol and/or drugs have affected you and your family.

To submit a story, contact sos.storiesofsubstance@gmail.com. Stories can be typed and submitted directly by email, or you can arrange to meet with one of our writers and have your story recorded. Any face-to-face meetings with the writers will be strictly confidential, and your story will be re-recorded after the fact in an actor’s voice in order to ensure complete anonymity. Stories should be received by August 15 so we can complete the script and start rehearsals for the remainder of the theatre piece.

If you would like to become part of this exciting new theatre project, please contact us!