Myka Kollmann, centre, with some of the graduates and residents of Luke 15 recovery house in Surrey. Kollmann has been working on a video series “Myka Asks” to raise awareness about drug addictions and the criminal justice system. (Submitted photo: Myka Kollmann)

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Student partners with law firm, Surrey recovery house to create video series on addiction

‘Myka Asks’ videos published on YouTube each Sunday

Through volunteering at a Surrey recovery house, and interning at a law firm, a university student decided to create a video series to highlight the misconceptions about drug addiction and recovery.

Myka Kollmann, a student at UBC studying gender, race, sexuality and social justice, has been volunteering at Luke 15 recovery house in Surrey for the past five years, and in 2017 she had the opportunity for an internship at Lower Mainland Law.

“Through my time in my law internship there, me and few of the lawyers were discussing and noticed that there’s a lack of awareness and understanding of drug addiction and people who are struggling with drug addiction,” said Kollmann, who lives in North Delta.

“We kind of came up with this idea to create a video project of just mini interviews that would highlight some of these misconceptions, and also, hopefully, bring some agency and understanding to these individuals who are trying to navigate through addiction and also the legal system in recovery.”

That’s where “Myka Asks” comes in.

Every Sunday, a new video is posted on Facebook (facebook.com/MykaAsks), with questions ranging from “What was the turning point in the course of your addiction?” to “Do you think that jail helps addicts recover?” to “What percentage of people at your recovery house are in the criminal justice system?”

In the videos, Kollmann asks past and present residents of Luke 15, criminal defence lawyers and the director of Luke 15 about addictions and the criminal justice system.

Kollmann said most people were supportive of the idea for the videos.

“We wanted to make sure that we didn’t do anything that made anyone feel uncomfortable or that they didn’t want to do, so participation was voluntary,” said Kollmann, adding that with a lot of the people in the videos, she had already built a relationship with them through her internship and volunteering.

By posting the videos, Kollmann said she wanted to “foster and create and grow a community of people who wanted the opportunity to share their personal experiences or experiences of people they are close with.”

“For me, I’ve been working within recovery and addiction for a couple years now and it really changed my whole view and perception of drug addiction and recovery,” she said. “I think I also had a lot of misunderstanding and misconceptions of who drug addicts were, what drug addiction was like and the whole recovery process.

“Drugs play such a prevalent role in a lot of parts of communities around Vancouver, so I think it really means a lot that we’re able to get that out there. Even if we can just impact a few individuals who can continue that and spread it on, it is worth it.”

The “Myka Asks” videos are posted Sundays for a total of 46 videos, with the final video being released Dec. 15.

READ ALSO: Roughly one person died every two days from drug overdoses, Feb. 7, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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