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Arts-Based Dialogues

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The toxic drug poisoning health emergency is a complex crisis with no easy solutions, but health professionals know that a harm reduction approach is saving lives. Stigma keeps people from talking about substance use and the overdose crisis. But it’s crucial to talk, to build connections, to make sure no one suffers alone, and to keep people alive.


The Mission Overdose Community Action Team (MOCAT) brings together people with lived experience, family members, community organizations, businesses, and local government to support and facilitate partnerships, coordinate programs and services, address gaps, and plan for a collaborative, caring, creative community response.


Every year throughout August, leading to International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, the MOCAT hosts community art dialogues with the support of the Mission Downtown Business Association and the Mission City Record. Our annual calendars include a selection of themed community artwork created during these discussions.

2023: Postcards from Precarious Places

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Maple Ridge Street Outreach Society partnered with SAFE Mission/MOCAT on this art dialogue: Postcards From Precarious Places. This inspired a larger project: a peer-led play that will be presented in November 2023.

"The fear of being viewed as a drug user overpowers the fear of death. If permanency (death) is less feared than t he quality of relationships, what does that say about the quality of life most drug users are living? RIP Uncle Pad." 

–Marcie P.

2022: Beyond Abstracts


People's thoughts on abstract art can be very wide-ranging. Much the same with concepts such as "harm reduction" which can also seem abstract, and almost misunderstood. For International Overdose Awareness day in 2022, MOCAT invited the community to arts-based dialogues based on this theme: Beyond Abstracts: Do you see what I see?

Please enjoy our gallery of community pieces below:

2021: Flower Power–Growing Stronger Together


About Flower Power...

Please enjoy our gallery of community pieces below:

2020: Masks We Wear

Throughout August 2020, leading up to International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, the Mission Overdose Community Action Team (MOCAT) hosted a series of mask-making workshops. The sessions were facilitated by community artist and MOCAT project coordinator Kat Wahamaa. "Masks We Wear" was a community arts dialogue that explored the faces we present to the world and those we perceive others wear. Beneath the mask shines our collective humanity.

"Masks We Wear" was displayed by downtown Mission businesses and organizations for International Overdose Awareness from August 31- September 3., then exhibited at The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford from September 10 to October 28, 2020. The mixed media artworks were created by 48 community members from age 17 to 72, many with lived experience - including family members, service providers, and others with a desire to learn more about this opioid health emergency. The sessions generated thought-provoking pieces and, through exhibition, invites the whole community into dialogue. Masks We Wear was coordinated with funding from the Community Action Initiative.

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