The Dope Experience

News Releases

Yellowknife — November 21, 2019

The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is pleased to announce the official launch of the travelling workshop, The Dope Experience, developed for Northwest Territories  (NWT) youth covering topics such as substance use, mental wellness, and community health.

In partnership with NWT Association of Communities and Western Arctic Moving Pictures, youth will engage in meaningful discussions and use arts and media-based activities to explore topics of concern in their community.  The result will be a digital story presentation that they can share with other youth and members of their community.

A formal youth engagement workshop was held in March 2019 which brought together youth, elders and the art community from all over the Territories to help shape the delivery of the workshop. The name “The Dope Experience” was suggested by a 17 year old youth from Behchoko during this engagement workshop.

Acknowledging that all communities have their own set of challenges and concerns, The Dope Experience aims to place the youth of each community at the forefront of change towards a healthier and more mindful NWT.



“We see our youth as change makers in community wellness. Through this workshop, we hope that our youth will lead the way towards education and engagement around substance use and mental health in their home communities. With a harm-reduction, arts-based approach, youth will lead meaningful discussions and activities in fun and engaging ways,”

- Diane Thom, Minister of Health and Social Services, GNWT


Quick Facts

  • The Federal government has invested $1.8 million over three years towards a comprehensive NWT polysubstance education under Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program.
  • The arts-based workshop will run until March 2020, reaching almost every NWT community.
  • Workshop teams include facilitators trained in media production, expressive arts and health and wellness.
  • Teams will deliver information sessions for students on cannabis, alcohol and other substances.
  • Students will have the opportunity to learn a range of arts mediums as a means of self-expression.
  • The Dope Experience workshop is an initiative funded by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Federal Substance Use and Addictions Program.


Related Links


Media Contact

Damien Healy
Manager of Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
1-867-767-9090 ext. 49034