The opioid epidemic is in the news and in our communities. Addiction to opioids seems different from others and has destroyed many lives and families. At the same time, opioids are also an important tool for alleviating human suffering and promoting healing. Our ability to address addiction is often not as successful as we would like. Is addiction a compulsion and/or a choice? As a society we see addiction as leading to criminal acts, which leads to punishment where treatment may or may not be available. Is this the most helpful response? What can we do to prevent or resolve the issue of opioid addiction?
Background Information:While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
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Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Opioid Addiction (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- Do you have experience with addiction in your life? What addiction(s)?
- Why is the opioid epidemic a problem? How is it different from other addictions?
- In what ways is it a problem for you? your community?
- What steps would you take to address opioid abuse?
- What is the government’s role (if any) in helping end the opioid epidemic?
- What do you see as the primary cause of addiction? And how can we address this cause?
- Do you believe law enforcement should or should not carry Narcan? (Narcan is an overdose rescue treatment).
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?