FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A new support group for people who have experienced loss due to overdoses has been created in Fort St. John.

Heather Boswell previously tried to start a similar grief group, but she says it didn’t go in the right direction.

Boswell says she recognized the need to get together and talk through her own experience of losing her son.

“I just feel that people aren’t reaching out to each other, so there’s definitely this need to get together and talk,” said Boswell on Moose Talks.

Through her experience, Boswell says she felt completely alone until she discovered a group called Moms Stop the Harm.

“There was nobody for me to talk to. There were no groups. I had read about Moms Stop the Harm before my son passed away, and I joined the group. I realized that this town needs this here, so it’s really important to me.”

Boswell says the negative stigma surrounding the opioid crisis makes a hard situation harder.

“When one of their loved ones dies, they don’t want to say what it’s from because they’re embarrassed. They think people judge them and in a way, some people do. We need to start accepting these people as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons of people.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it tough for Boswell and her group to meet indoors, but the Treaty 8 Tribal Association has extended an offer to use a room.

“This is the third Wednesday I was there. We’ve had a few people show up and just talk, and I think it’s kind of like a burden is being lifted a little bit. I feel really positive about it.”

Boswell says anyone is welcome to take part in the Wednesday evening meetings.

“We meet on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Treaty 8 Tribal Association building on the corner of 100th and 101st, and it’s drop-in, it doesn’t cost you anything.”

Even if they don’t want to share, Boswell says it is a group that supports each other.

“I want people to know they won’t be judged. They can come to this group and they want to talk and share, they’re more than welcome. Just don’t let people judge you and don’t try and do this alone. It’s hard.”