The Opioid Project: Changing Perspectives through Art and Storytelling

Through community-based partnerships, The Opioid Project seeks to increase public awareness and to change how people perceive of and treat those touched by addiction, including active users, addicts in recovery, first responders, and those grieving the death of a loved one to overdose. Assumptions about addicts and their families are central to the stigma and loneliness experienced by all those affected by the epidemic. Using art and personal stories, The Opioid Project communicates and breathes life into the complex social narrative of addiction, with the goal of supporting families in their grieving process, strengthening communities, promoting positive social change and ultimately preventing opioid abuse and opioid-related deaths.

The Opioid Project consists of 4-hour community-based art and audio storytelling workshops where participants find a safe space to process their personal experiences with addiction by creating collages and sharing stories. These stories are audio recorded, and together with the art, contextualize and bring to life the human costs of the epidemic. Finished work is shared in community multimedia art exhibitions where each art collage is paired with its recorded audio story. Using phones, visitors have the opportunity to hear each participant speak about their experience while visually taking in the art in front of them. Each event includes a community dialogue with the goals of increasing public awareness, decreasing stigma, and promoting social change.


Partners include: City of Boston Office of Recovery Services, City of Medford Mayor’s Office, McLean’s Hospital Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Program and The New Art Center in Newton