With support from Ohio Humanities, Ohio University medical school professors Daniel Skinner and Berkeley Franz have launched a website that provides resources for facilitating community conversations and reducing stigma around the issue of opioid abuse. The website is hosted at www.NotFarFromMe.org

The site is a companion to Skinner and Franz’s co-edited book, Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio, which features more than 50 first-person accounts of the opioid crisis in Ohio. The book’s contributors include educators, medical professionals, sports coaches, teachers, community leaders, family members, and recovering opioid users. Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland wrote the book’s forward. Of the book, the award-winning author of Dreamland, Sam Quinones, said: “As a journalist and storyteller, I’m convinced that only through stories of real people will the stigma surrounding addiction fade. Which is what makes projects like Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio so important and worth reading. We hear from them all: doctors, addicts, poets, mothers, librarians, nurses, pastors, inmates and football coaches. Even though this volume is about one state, and only a few people from that state, together they tell one of the crucial stories of America today.

The centerpiece of the website is a set of 15 discussion-based activities created by Skinner and Franz in collaboration with Ohio University instructional designer Kyle Rosenberger. These activities use stories from Ohioans as a foundation for “community conversations.” They provide an opportunity to explore diverse experiences across the state and encourage a wide range of
individuals and groups to engage each other around opioid addiction and its effects on Ohio communities.

Community Conversations: Stories from the Opioid Crisis

Using these activities, Skinner and Franz are facilitating community conversations in 11 public libraries around the state. These events are free and open to the public and will focus on a variety of themes that intersect with opioid abuse, including trauma and mental health, child and
adolescent development, racial stereotypes, the economy and unemployment, and community-based responses to the epidemic.

The events will take place in Ohio communities on the following dates:

  • Jun 20, 5:30 p.m.:    Columbus Metro Library, Hilltop Branch
  • Jun 27, 12:00 p.m.:    Euclid Public Library
  • Jun 27, 6:30 p.m.:     Mentor Public Library
  • Jul 16, 6:00 p.m.:    Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library
  • Jul 18, 2:00 p.m.:    Garnet A. Wilson Public Library of Pike County
  • Jul 19, 3:00 p.m.:    Nelsonville Public Library
  • Jul 20, 2:00 p.m.    Athens Public Library
  • Jul 27, 10:00 a.m.:    Pickerington Public Library
  • Aug 19, 5:30 p.m.:    Lima Public Library
  • Sept 14, 2:00 p.m.:    Licking County Library, Downtown Newark Branch

The website provides extensive materials for communities to hold additional discussions around
the state. In addition to information on community conversations, the website, designed by the
Columbus, Ohio-based Lance Osborne of Process Interactive, also features an up-to-date
calendar of addiction-related events taking place across the state; an updated list of news
stories addressing the opioid crisis in the state; and a comprehensive list of resources for those
looking for ways to participate in addressing the crisis.

Interview

Join a conversation between Ohio Humanities Executive Director Pat Williamsen and Ohio University professors Daniel Skinner and Berkeley Franz as they discuss their new book Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio.

 

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