Walk With Me: A Community-Engaged Response to the Drug Poisoning Crisis

March 29, 2023

The Walk With Me team and SFU CERi have collaborated on the report Walk With Me: A Community-Engaged Response to the Drug Poisoning Crisis to illuminates a powerful role for community-engaged research in addressing the drug poisoning crisis. 

Since the toxic drug poisoning crisis was declared a provincial public health emergency in 2016 in British Columbia, illicit drug toxicity deaths have totalled over 11,000 in the province. In the face of this seemingly insurmountable crisis, a group of  researchers, artists, outreach workers, Elder/Traditional Knowledge Keepers and people with lived and living experience have banded together in a spirit of solidarity to re-examine the crisis and imagine new ways forward. With unconventional roots and methods—born in an art gallery and forged through a pandemic—Walk With Me convenes bold conversations between diverse stakeholders and utilizes arts-based community action research to make change.

The report explores the Walk With Me framework of using story walks, creative practice and sharing circles as a way to mobilize lived experience wisdom within a wider set of research contexts. Ultimately the Walk With Me project and this report aim to support community-driven systems and policy change; and cultivate new understandings and practices of community wellbeing and belonging.