Frequently Asked Questions

Community conversations are public events designed to stimulate new thinking about how opioids have affected Ohio communities. We will facilitate community conversations in public libraries (and other sites) across the state, but we want you to join us in hosting additional conversations as well. Below you’ll find information on how to utilize the materials on this site to hold a conversation in your community, as well as other information people commonly ask us.

What is the purpose of the Community Conversations?

The purpose of Community Conversations is to encourage a variety of individuals to connect and share perspectives on opioid abuse in Ohio. Through increased dialogue, we aim to reduce stigma around drug addiction and encourage collaboration to strengthen partnerships in communities.

Where can I find a Community Conversation event to attend?

All Community Conversations we are holding are listed on this website’s events page. If you are planning your own community conversation, please email us with the time/date/location conversations@notfarfromme.org so that we can post it on the website.

How do the Community Conversations relate to the book?

Most Community Conversation activities use excerpts from the book as a foundation for discussion. These sessions are not promotional events for the book, although they are aimed to build on the stories shared in the book, extending the conversation into different communities.

Who facilitates these Community Conversations?

The ten Community Conversation events we will be holding will be facilitated by Dr. Berkeley Franz and Dr. Daniel Skinner. The materials on this site are meant to support community members, such as yourself, in holding additional conversations. As community members hold their own events using the materials provided on this website, we anticipate that a wide range of people, from different regions and backgrounds, will serve as facilitators.

Can these Community Conversations be hosted digitally?

We have not tried this yet. However, some community organizations may wish to adapt activities to utilize Skype or other video conferencing tools. We have designed activities so that they contain adequate flexibility for significant adaptation. If you host a digital conversation, we would appreciate you emailing us at conversations@notfarfromme.org with feedback on how it went.

As a participant, do I need to bring anything to the Community Conversations?

The Community Conversations we are hosting do not require that participants bring anything other than their enthusiasm for engaging in conversation. Facilitators are responsible for providing resources for the events.

Will childcare be available at Community Conversations sessions?

We do not currently have the means to accommodate childcare. However, if you would like to attend an event but childcare is an issue, please email us at conversations@opiodsohio.org. For the ten events we are holding, we will try to make arrangements for you.

Who are these Community Conversations for? Can anyone join?

Community Conversations are designed for adult participants. Anybody can participate, as long as they are genuinely interested in having productive and respectful conversation about a complex and difficult topic.

Is there a fee associated with attending a Community Conversation?

Community Conversations are free to attend and have been made possible through generous funding from the Ohio Humanities Council. Community organizations and individuals utilizing the resources on this website are prohibited from charging fees to participants attending conversations.

Will there be photography/videos allowed during the sessions?

Photography is allowed with the consent of participants. At the 10 sessions we facilitate, we will provide release forms to participants if photos are taken. No audio or video-recording is allowed at any sessions.

Can I leave feedback and notes after the conclusion of the session?

Yes. In fact, we would really appreciate your feedback. At the end of each Community Conversation, feedback forms will be distributed, ideally for participants to take a few minutes to complete onsite. Afterwards, the Community Conversations we facilitate will be formally evaluated by Dr. Lesli Johnson at the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. We also ask that facilitators of other Community Conversations provide feedback to us about their sessions using the feedback forms included with each activity. Of course, we welcome hearing feedback via email from anybody at any time. Please email us at conversations@notfarfromme.org.

I am planning on hosting a Community Conversation, where do I find the facilitation materials?

We have a total of fifteen activities to choose from, organized into five themes. Facilitation materials are posted on each community conversation activity page.

What types of locations and room configurations are ideal for a Community Conversation?

Locations should have flexible seating so that they can accommodate groups of different sizes. Examples of locations include community spaces within churches, schools, and public libraries. Depending on the activity, seating should be able to be moved around so that participants can see each other and participate in both small and large group conversations. Locations should also be welcoming of and accessible to participants of different physical abilities. Since most activities consist of a discussion and active engagement, setting-up chairs in a circle or rows would work well.

My location for the Community Conversation is lacking technology, is this a problem?

All Community Conversations have been designed with flexible technological requirements. While we have, in some cases, provided audio or video options, paper resources are provided as well. All paper handouts, however, will need to be printed prior to the session.

Am I able to go off script during the Community Conversation?

Depends what you mean. Facilitators should aim to keep conversations topical and relevant. At the same time, we encourage creative thinking about these subjects, and encourage facilitators to allow the conversation to go where participants take it, as long as participants are allowing all other participants to participate and are respectful of the impact this subject matter may have on participants.

How many people generally attend the Community Conversations? If we are expecting more than 25 people at the event, are there recommendations for facilitating the session?

In general, we recommend between 3 and 25 participants. The activities can be facilitated to both small and large groups, though if you anticipate having more than 25 people consider the following modifications:

  • Adding additional facilitators.
  • Splitting the larger group into two smaller groups for the activity or discussion.
  • Instead of breaking into groups of two, as most of the activities suggest, encourage participants to form groups of 3 or 4.
  • Leverage audio and visual technology at your location to accommodate for the larger group. For example, the use of a projector may allow resources and readings to be displayed instead of handed out to individual participants. Additionally, the use of a microphone may be helpful in ensuring all participants are able to hear both the facilitator and those participating in the discussion.
The participants of the session are reluctant to have an open discussion? Are there any strategies to help with this?

In many of the sessions, we’ve included strategies to facilitate different types of discussion. You may find that breaking participants into pairs or very small groups or having participants write down their thoughts will help participants feel comfortable with discussion. Following small group discussion with a large group discussion is often a helpful way to let participants form their thoughts before sharing with a larger group.

The Community Conversation is creating tension amongst the participants, what should I do?

Stay calm. Though conversations can sometimes get tense, all Community Conversation participants are there because they care about the themes being addressed. We encourage facilitators to work with participants to steer the conversation toward productive ground. As long as participants are willing to listen to the views being expressed by others, such steering should be possible. Of course, in public forums, people do sometime occupy more space than is conducive for allowing all viewpoints to be heard. If this happens, it is appropriate for the facilitator to become a bit more active in their structuring of the conversation. It is useful, for example, to inform participants that “in the spirit of inclusiveness, you would like to ask for some thoughts from those who have not yet had an opportunity to speak.” It is also appropriate to ask for participants to share perspectives that may differ from those you’ve heard from so far.

What should I do with the resources after the session has been concluded?

You can recycle the resources or retain them if your community wishes to use them again.

Where can I find more information on efforts to combat the opioid crisis, as well as perspectives on it?

This website includes extensive resources, including news, events, and other media that address various aspects of opioid addiction. For treatment and recovery resources, we recommend you consult your local Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS). The state website has information to help you connect with resources in your county.

Where can I get a copy of the book?

Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio is available from The Ohio State University Press as well as at fine bookstores throughout the state.

The link for the Community Resources does not work, whom should I contact?

Please email us at conversations@notfarfromme.org.

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