Opioid Abuse Awareness Exhibit
By Jack Kiyonaga, Editor
Correna Pawn Simao is continuing her work combating substance abuse on Molokai with an informational exhibit at the Molokai Public Library.
“If we don’t educate the community, how are they going to know?” said Simao. Substance abuse “hits every home, I bet.”
Simao was a participant in the Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) workforce development program, which ran earlier this year until August. As a conclusion to the program, participants were asked to create interactive programs educating the Molokai community on the dangers of drug abuse. Some participants worked with organizations like Alu Like and the Molokai Hunting Club to design board games or PowerPoints.
Simao’s project has taken the form of opioid education. Her presentation at the library includes anonymous stories of those who have struggled with drug abuse, information on symptoms and treatments for opioid abuse, as well as resources from the library which deal with abuse and treatment.
Part of the intention in publicly sharing information about opioid abuse is that it breaks the stigma around discussing it, explained Anne Steinke, one of the coordinators for the OD2A program.
“There’s that stigma of ‘drug addict,’” said Steinke, when in reality “Tutu could be an addict, Aunty could be an addict because they had back surgery.”
“Never mind ‘say no to drugs,’” said Simao. “If they’re educated enough, they’re going to know this is what this stuff does, [and say] ‘I need to step away.’”
The hope for Simao is that education can lead to honest conversations that will benefit the Molokai community.
Substance abuse “affects all of us,” said Simao.
The exhibit will run at the Molokai Public Library until the end of the month.