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It Takes a Village: Social Inclusion, Support and Purpose as a means of Supporting Individuals engaged in Substance Misuse in a Rural First Nation in Ontario, Canada

PI and project team: McKinley, G.P., McGregor, L., Aelick, M., Orchard, T., Pucan, B., Fonseka, T., Collins, E., & Kwan, S. 

Social prescription is defined as a cost-effective, non-drug, non-health service intervention that has the potential to improve the quality of life for individuals and reduce the social and financial costs of providing services in under-serviced communities. The purpose of this pilot project is to apply best practices from existing social prescription programs to test their effectiveness in supporting individuals with lived experience of substance misuse in Whitefish River First Nation (WFRN) located north of Manitoulin Island and east of Sudbury Ontario. The project will collect best practices from social prescription programs globally, collect narrative-based perspectives on how family and community members can best support their loved ones in the community, develop teaching materials which can be adapted for other communities, and explore how social prescription can be applied to support First Nations and non-First Nations rural communities. Program evaluation will be undertaken, which will include perspectives from participants, their family members, and facilitators from within the community to develop guidelines on creating safe local spaces to support community members who experience substance misuse and the individuals running these therapeutic programs. The impact of this project for First Nations and rural communities is improved services for their community members, decreased cost of services, and improved community health.