Leila Attar, Ottawa, ON

I suffered from substance use disorder from age 16-19.

During this time I fell down the slippery slope that is addiction. After an experience with Fentanyl in which I almost lost my life, the decision to "break up" with drugs became my reality.

I struggled and fought my way through the withdrawal and got the mental health help that I needed. As I began to pull myself from this darkness, I saw the pain of everyone around me. I could not bare to watch any more children go through the pain that I did, and even more so- I could not handle the idea that families were shattered and forever changed by these drugs. I knew I needed to take a stand. I decided to launch the VoicesCrossCan tour which has brought me to both sides of the Canadian coasts- with the intentions of gaining insight into the heart of the conflict of these problems.

It is my hope that as I continue to discover the patterns between the struggles people are facing, perhaps I too can become an advocating voice to contribute to the discussions on how Canada can solve the opioid crisis.

I would like to offer a glimmer of hope to those who are hurting, suffering, or battling their own challenges to know that recovery is possible and life is better without substances. I would like to help and be as involved as I possibly can, because I do fundamentally believe in helping others and it is my passion to make this world a better place.

Leila is in recovery and an advocate working for drug policy reform and to remove the stigma of substance use.