Grade 9 too late for students in Nova Scotia to learn about opioid dangers: advocate

Metro News Halifax, September 14, 2017

The rapidly changing opioid landscape means Nova Scotia students need an updated school curriculum delivered at an earlier age.

That’s what the president of Get Prescription Drugs Off the Street Society has said in a letter to the provincial government.

Grade 9 too late for students in Nova Scotia to learn about opioid dangers: advocate

2017-09-14 Amy  Graves - Metro Halifax.jpg

Helen Jennens Lost Both Her Sons To Overdoses. Here's What She Wanted To Ask Trudeau

Huffington Post, Sepember 7, 2017

Trudeau was twice asked by physicians about impending tax hikes on those with private corporations. He addressed questions on everything from family reunification, to pharmacare and his broken electoral reform pledge, to reconciliation with Indigenous people and the future of the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. He was lauded by a young transgender person for the passage of Bill C-16 — legislation that extended protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act for gender expression and identity.

But nobody Trudeau randomly selected for a question asked him about the opioid crisis, or mental illness, or housing, as Kelowna's mayor, Colin Basran, later remarked.

At the caucus' closing press conference on Thursday, Trudeau was asked if the would consider legalizing heroin or cocaine as a way of addressing the opioid crisis. "That is not a step we are looking at," he said.

Helen Jennens Lost Both Her Sons To Overdoses. Here's What She Wanted To Ask Trudeau

Life or death lessons: Schools are taking on the fentanyl crisis but drug curriculum a patchwork

Patrick Butler, CBC News Sep 05, 2017

His mother, Leslie McBain, has told the heartbreaking story of her son's overdose at every high school in British Columbia's Gulf Islands region over the past two years. "My message is one of safety. If you decide to do this, here's how to stay safe," she said. It's a refrain she repeats to students over and over again: never use alone, always carry naloxone, watch out for your friends at parties and know how to recognize an overdose.

Life or death lessons: Schools are taking on the fentanyl crisis but drug curriculum a patchwork

Support group formed amid drug overdose crisis

FortMcMurry.com September 5, 2017

An opioid crisis is bringing together friends and family members of overdose victims who want to support others going through the same pain.

Fort McMurray residents Mari-Lee Paluszak, 55, and Holly Meints, 51, both lost sons to accidental overdoses last year. Both attended Overdose Awareness Day at the Wood Buffalo Regional Library last Thursday to help put a face to the drug overdose problem. Their new group, On A Dragonfly’s Wings, is meant to provide mutual support for grieving family members of overdose victims.

Support group formed amid drug overdose crisis

Nanaimo mom celebrates son's birthday in grief on International Overdose Awareness Day

National Post, August 30, 2017

Cheryl Guardiero should have spent Thursday celebrating her son’s 30th birthday. Instead, she attended an International Overdose Awareness Day vigil in Nanaimo, her boy now among the dead for whom they grieved. Brett Colton Mercer was born in Nanaimo on Aug. 31, 1987, to loving parents who eventually had five children. He died Aug. 19, 2017, of an accidental drug overdose, alone in a motel room in Hope, where he had recently landed a job with an oil and gas firm.

Nanaimo mom celebrates son's birthday in grief on International Overdose Awareness Day

Grieving families lean on each other on International Overdose Awareness Day

CFJC Kamloops, August 31, 2017

KAMLOOPS — Friends and family members gathered at Riverside Park this afternoon (Aug. 31) to celebrate the lives of their loved ones while having candid conversations about the tragic way those lives were lost. "We really need to share our stories and encourage people to listen, that's the big thing: listen," said Sherry Robinson.

Grieving families lean on each other on International Overdose Awareness Day

'Finally somebody's listening': Edmonton parents grieve overdose victims

Metro News Edmonton, September 1, 2017

Faye Gray said she feels a lot of guilt over her daughter’s drug overdose death in 2015. She was one of many grieving parents who met on the steps of the Alberta legislature Thursday afternoon to hold a vigil honouring overdose victims and call for changes in the way society treats people who use drugs.

The annual vigil, marking International Overdose Awareness Day, had a higher profile this year with the country in the midst of an opioid crisis, drawing politicians and several advocacy organizations. “That was huge for me. I think for all of us,” said Faye. “Finally somebody’s listening. And we’ve never had that before.”

'Finally somebody's listening': Edmonton parents grieve overdose victims

Large crowd gathers for International Drug Overdose Awareness Day

Kelowna Capital News, September 1, 2017

Residents gathered to share the names of lost ones at the first International Overdose Awareness Day in Kelowna last night.

“It was amazing, it was absolutely amazing,” said organizer Helen Jennens, of Mother’s Stop the Harm.

Jennens wasn’t sure how many people would be involved with the event, but more than 200 people gathered for the Candle Vigil in Stuart Park and 127 naloxone kits were distributed during the day with demonstrations on how to use them.

She had tears in her eyes as around 100 people shared the names of lost loved ones.

Large crowd gathers for International Drug Overdose Awareness Day

'They're not numbers, they're people.' Calgary event pays tribute to victims of overdose

Calgary Herald, August 31, 2017

“Everybody knows that a mom’s worst nightmare or a dad’s worst nightmare is getting that phone call or that knock on the door in the middle of the night from uniformed officers to tell you that your kid is dead. That same kid whose hair you ran your fingers through when they were small as they fell asleep, and the same kid who when the first time you held them, you promised them that they would be unconditionally loved and protected from all harm.” Hakique Virani

'They're not numbers, they're people.' Calgary event pays tribute to victims of overdose

Kelowna residents gather for the first of its kind event to mark international overdose awareness day

Global News Kelowna, August 31,

Kelowna MSTH members organized events to remembers the loved ones they lost, Including Stephanie Hopkins who mourns her fiance and Helen Jennens who lost two sons to the crisis. The fight against the stigma of substance use and that prevents people from seeking and getting the help they need.

Kelowna residents gather for the first of its kind event to mark international overdose awareness day

Voices rise at Victoria rally on overdose ‘epidemic’

Times Colonist, September 1, 2017

When Jennifer Howard lost her son Robert Cunningham to a fentanyl overdose in May 2016 at age 24, she was devastated.

After learning he had hid his heroin use, and had been using for only seven months before his death, she began to realize how widespread drug overdoses are in B.C.

Howard, who helped organize Thursday’s International Overdose Awareness Day event at Centennial Square, was among hundreds of people from all walks of life who had a good reason for being there.

“I lost the ability to help Robby, so for me, going forward, being an advocate and a voice for others, and making sure change happens is important,” said Howard, a member of the group Moms Stop the Harm.

Voices rise at Victoria rally on overdose ‘epidemic’

Families who lost loved ones call for action on opioid crisis

Edmonton Sun, August 31, 2017

Following the emotional memorial, Mioara Whytock said this day is important to send the message that youth struggling with drugs need support because “everyone is somebody’s someone.”

“They are wonderful kids, they are not addicts,” she said. “They just get lost into this drug use and their minds are not there anymore and because of that they need help.”

Families who lost loved ones call for action on opioid crisis

Province announces Overdose Awareness Day at rally at Legislature

Winnipeg Sun, August 31, 2017

Moms Stop The Harm hosted their second annual gathering to honour loved ones lost to addiction and overdose on Thursday at the Manitoba Legislature.

The Manitoba government announced at the event that August 31 would be International Overdose Awareness Day. The news for grieving parents like Carol Ward, who lost her daughter Lisa Erickson to overdose in April, is seen as a step in the right direction. But Ward believes more needs to be done.

Province announces Overdose Awareness Day at rally at Legislature

Vigils to be held Thursday on International Overdose Awareness Day

NICK EAGLAND, Vancouver Sun, August 30, 2017

Leslie McBain, founder of Moms Stop the Harm, which advocates for harm reduction and policy change around drugs, said her group was among a diverse committee of organizers, including AIDS Vancouver Island, the Mustard Seed Street Church and the Centre for Addictions Research of B.C.

McBain said it’s important that any overdose-awareness initiative addresses the stigmas associated with addiction and how they impact people who use drugs and their loved ones.

Vigils to be held Thursday on International Overdose Awareness Day

Diverse group unites for upcoming Overdose Awareness Day

SARAH PETRESCU / TIMES COLONIST, AUGUST 29, 2017

For the past several months, a group of frontline workers, illicit-drug users and parents have met to discuss how they can better inform the public on the one thing that unites them: The overdose crisis.

“It’s such a diverse mix of people, but we’ve all been affected,” said Leslie McBain, a founding member of Moms Stop the Harm.

The [Victoria] event [for International Overdose Awareness Day] takes place in Centennial Square this Thursday, with community naloxone training, speakers and a vigil. Similar events are taking place in Nanaimo, Courtenay and Campbell River.

Diverse group unites for upcoming Overdose Awareness Day

Ignite Change workshop discusses prevention, harm reduction and other responses to youth drug crisis

Madeleine Cummings, Edmonton Examiner Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Petra Schulz, whose 25-year-old son, Danny, died of a fentanyl overdose in 2014, argued that society should be focused on the “demand” side of the problem, instead of the “supply” side. She also advocated for removing the stigma that surrounds addiction and mental illness and reducing harm for people who choose to use drugs.

Ignite Change workshop discusses prevention, harm reduction and other responses to youth drug crisis