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The opioid crisis has made its way to Art Basel this year

The opioid crisis has made its way to Art Basel. If you attend the SCOPE International Art Show, don’t be surprised to see samples of an unusual nature being given out. No, you won’t be getting free drugs — just the opposite.

Around the exhibition called “unaffiliate.us,” featuring drug addiction-inspired works by contemporary NYC artist Tom Fruin, attendees can pick up a dose of Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Many of Fruin’s pieces use actual drug paraphernalia, such as discarded quilt bags that were at one time containers for drugs. The exhibit, which runs Tuesday through Sunday at Scope on Eighth Street and Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, is organized by Massachusetts-based Column Health. The newly formed company runs four outpatient mental health clinics focusing on addiction. Workers from the company will be on site to not only give out the medication but to provide counsel, said spokesman Jim McIntyre. He adds that one dose of Narcan, available without a prescription, will be handed out in nasal spray form in clear, plastic bags. “That is sort of the idea, this is not something we want to hide,” McIntyre said. “We are trying to bring awareness to the crisis and start a larger conversation, not necessarily to stock everyone.”

An artistic compilation of used drug bags on display in Miami Beach. Tom Fruin ‘A.E. Smith-Shattered’ (2009) Tom Fruin

Drugs will also be on the menu at another exhibit. At part-time Miami resident Shawn Kolodny’s 5,000-square-foot interactive art installation, people can “travel” through a pharmacy.“In my experience, addiction is not always as it seems; the whole premise is shifty and the promise is fake,” Kolodny said in a news release. “This immersive exhibition takes guests on a trip through reality, and I hope it evokes some self-exploration around our addictions and the notion of fake fulfillment associated with them.”

Shawn Kolodny’s interactive, 5,000-square-foot art installation brings guests from room to room as they explore addiction, beginning at a pharmacy and traveling through glowing IV bags, old-school medicine vials and more.

The exhibit is at Boulan South Beach Hotel (220 21st St. in Miami Beach) from Wednesday through Sunday; the multi-sensory rooms are limited to groups of 20 at a time, ages 18 and over. Single and group reservations can be made at FakeFulfillmentCenter.splashthat.com. A portion of proceeds (tickets are $25 a person) will go to Caron Behavioral Health Treatment Center.

BY MADELEINE MARR
The Miami Herald

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