Application status: Closed - recipients were announced April 5, 2018
Ministry responsible: Health


The opioid crisis is causing an alarming and growing number of emergency department visits and deaths in Alberta.

It affects communities, families and Albertans from all walks of life. Anyone can be affected by the harms of opioid use and the stigma around drug use is a key barrier that prevents people from accessing services.

To raise awareness and educate Albertans about the opioid crisis, $1.4 million in grants went to 29 community organizations to fund projects that use unique and creative approaches to:

  • reduce stigma associated with opioid use
  • point people to where they can get treatment or overdose reversal kits
  • educate families, friends and neighbours on how they can potentially save a life

This grant program acts on a recommendation of the Minister's Opioid Emergency Response Commission to fund community public awareness initiatives focused on the opioid crisis.

Grant recipients

The 29 successful recipients received grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

Each grant proposal was independently reviewed by three individuals and was scored based on:

  • geographic representation across the province
  • its ability to reach demographic groups most impacted by the opioid crisis
  • its uniqueness/creativity
  • its ability to address stigma and support harm-reduction initiatives

The projects will:

  • engage one or more groups associated with opioid and/or fentanyl crisis
  • include or consult with people who have lived experience with the opioid crisis in project design and/or educational products
  • reflect the harm-reduction and anti-stigma stance supported by the Government of Alberta
  • use unique and creative approaches

The final list of proposed projects was reviewed by people with lived experience, as well as additional staff from Indigenous Relations.

Provincial projects

Applicant Project Name/Description Grant amount
AAWEAR: Alberta Addicts Who Educate and Advocate Responsibly Society Healing Through Humour
  • Holding community workshops for people who use or have used substances, culminating in a final public performance event to help heal those with lived experience and reduce the harmful stigma associated with substance use
Alberta Community Council on HIV (ACCH) Youth and Substance Use
  • Engaging youth who use substances in mid-sized cities to create a ‘Humans of New York’ style photo and story campaign to raise awareness on youth substance use
Alberta College of Pharmacists ACP Opioid Guidelines Public Awareness
  • Distributing pamphlets to community pharmacies to raise awareness of prescription opioid misuses and the role of pharmacy in combating it
Indigo Harm Reduction Services Ltd. Just Say Know
  • Creating educational training videos for staff employed in the nightlife industry on harm reduction and naloxone use, and providing harm reduction services and education at festivals and outdoor events
Norquest College Staying Alive
  • Surviving Opioids: creating a visual campaign for placement in correctional facilities across Alberta through engaging with inmates and parolees
Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists Effective Management of Chronic Pain
  • Creating a website and social media resources with information for healthcare providers and patients on chronic pain management
Alberta Rural Development Network
  • Providing 10 rural communities with a community opioid awareness session on harm reduction, naloxone kit usage and availability, decreasing stigma in their community, and what local resources are available

Edmonton region projects

Applicant Project Name/Description Grant amount
Bissell Centre Opioid Awareness Project
  • Engaging people with lived/living experience to create a publication, with information, art work, and personal stories, about opioid use and the opioid crisis to be disseminated through the Centre and a public media launch and event
Boyle Street Community Services Harm Reduction Youth Worker
  • Utilizing a harm reduction youth worker to raise awareness of opioid use, overdose prevention, and naloxone kits through printed and social media targeted for Indigenous youth and other marginalized youth who access Boyle services
City of Leduc Somebody’s Someone
  • Creating multi-media communications, including videos and print, as well as holding community education sessions and supporting the Leduc Community Drug Action Committee
Edmonton Men's Health Collective Society Accelerating Alberta's LGBTQ Opioid Response
  • Raising awareness of opioid use within the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community through a harm reduction workshop, social media engagement, and harm reduction training events
Family and Community Services, Strathcona County Strathcona Opioid Response
  • Creating a local awareness campaign, including bus signage, advertisements, digital animations, a focused directory of resources, and community-based events
Harry Ainlay High School Keep It Real
  • Youth-led creation of print materials and social media content related to opioids and fentanyl
The Mustard Seed Foundation Opioid Awareness Campaign
  • Creating a media awareness campaign through engaging with clientele with lived opioid experience, and hosting informational session in the Edmonton region. Findings will also be disseminated to Red Deer and Calgary Offices

Southern Alberta projects

Applicant Project Name/Description Grant amount
Blood Tribe Blood Tribe Opioid Awareness Project
  • Creating a publication, videos, and billboards related to opioid use that is specific to the Blood Tribe and ongoing opioid crisis efforts
Medicine Hat Drug Coalition (through legal entity Medicine Hat Safe Community Association) Medicine Hat Drug Coalition Campaign
  • Holding community events and community conversations along with city-wide advertising
Sweetgrass Youth Alliance SAME Program
  • Producing a messaging campaign, creating a publication, and holding community information sessions

Calgary region projects

Applicant Project Name/Description Grant amount
Alberta Foundation for Changing the Face of Addiction Reduce Harm, Remove Stigma, and Raise Hope
  • Targeting the suburban communities around Calgary by creating videos about opioid use to be disseminated through social media, and hosting local events to provide harm reduction and opioid use education
Bow Valley College Harm Reduction & Opioid Prevention Education (HOPE) Campaign
  • Creating a public service announcement and information event about opioids and stigma
Calgary John Howard Society Ignite - Art Based Opioid Awareness Project
  • Creating and displaying art made by people with lived experience to raise awareness of the stigma associated with opioid use and addiction
Stardale Women's Group Inc. Make Believer
  • Engaging Indigenous girls with a history of family substance use in creating a theatrical performance piece
Town of Banff
  • Creating videos on opioid use and naloxone availability to disseminate online and in public spaces, as well as a nightlife-focused print campaign in the Bow Valley (Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Kananaskis)
University of Calgary, Student Wellness, Access and Support Opioid Harm Reduction Campus, University of Calgary
  • Raising awareness of opioid use and harm reduction methods among University of Calgary students through social media campaigns, targeted events, and creating a network of peer influencers
University of Calgary, O’Brien Institute for Public Health
  • Creating videos featuring members of advocacy group Moms Stop the Harm to raise awareness of harm reduction, stigma, and what families want you to know about opioids, in addition to hosting community presentations

Northern Alberta projects

Applicant Project Name/Description Grant amount
City of Grande Prairie Opioid Public Awareness
  • Creating messaging related to people with lived experience, stigma, and available services, in addition to public awareness sessions
HIV West Yellowhead AWARENESS West Yellowhead
  • Creating a media campaign specific to northwestern Alberta involving social media, print media, and developing a speaker series
Peace Regional Victim Services Society Eye of the Storm Campaign
  • Raising public awareness on the opioid crisis and sharing local resources through educational sessions and a media campaign
Wood Buffalo Regional Collaborative Service Delivery
  • Holding community awareness sessions and educational training for staff members and students in local schools on addiction, mental health, and opioid use, and the creation of a youth-focused app

Central Alberta projects

Applicant Project Name/Description Grant amount
Turning Point Central Alberta Opioid Public Awareness
  • Creating anti-stigma messaging and media campaign

Project and reporting requirements

The grant projects are expected to roll out in the next 12 months (April 2018 to March 2019). Recipients will report back on their activities, financial spending and successes to the Government of Alberta.

Contact the grant manager

Questions about the grants should be directed to:

Opioid Public Awareness Grants team