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ID: HR23-151
Presenting author: Aaron Goodman

Presenting author biography:

As a communication studies researcher in British Columbia, Canada, Aaron works closely with people affected by the toxic drug supply crisis to help amplify their voices and experiences, challenge stigma, and call for change. His participatory research involves collaborative testimony, oral history, podcasting, and graphic illustration.

Collaborative Testimony, Podcasting, and Graphic Illustration with Peer Harm Reduction Workers

Aaron Goodman
Our research team will share highlights about our innovative, community-based participatory research, which involved collaborating with 12 harm reduction workers, widely known as peers, in British Columbia, Canada, in order to assist these individuals in articulating how their jobs and lives are impacted by the toxic drug supply crisis.

We will explore how six student researchers engaged deeply with peers in oral history interviews and by collaboratively producing a podcast and graphic illustrations focused on peers’ testimonies.

The study is timely, because peers with current or past experience with substance use are playing critical roles at the frontlines of the toxic drug supply crisis across the globe. Not only do peers provide vital harm reduction services, but they are also saving countless lives.

Yet, many peers are experiencing a number of stressors, including financial insecurity, lack of respect and recognition at work, housing challenges, inability to access and/or refer individuals to helpful resources, and frequent exposure to death and trauma.

The study explores the following research questions:

i) Can sustained dialogue through oral history interviews and collaborative testimony enable peers to share nuanced information about stressors they experience?

ii) How do peers’ testimonies challenge dominant media narratives about the toxic drug supply crisis that often ignore, misrepresent, or silence peers and stigmatize PWUD?

iii) How do the podcast and graphic illustration formats help communicate information articulated by peers in order to reach people within the harm reduction community, PWUD, the wider public, and policy makers?

* Please note, this is a submission to make a virtual presentation and contribution to this important conference. This is needed, because, due to disability, Aaron cannot travel to the conference. Your efforts to ensure the conference is accessible to folks with disabilities (and others who cannot travel for various reasons) is truly appreciated.