Alberta should declare fentanyl public health emergency: B.C. advocate

Calgary Sun, May 20, 2017

As fentanyl overdose deaths in Alberta rise, a Vancouver-based advocate says Alberta would do well to follow her province's lead in declaring opioid-related deaths a public health emergency.

On the front lines in B.C.'s battle against their ongoing overdose crisis, Leslie McBain said Alberta's rising numbers of overdose deaths isn't going to slow without decisive action from the provincial government.

"The number of deaths in Alberta is rising," she said. "It's insane and inhumane to not do something about it."

Alberta should declare fentanyl public health emergency: B.C. advocate

'The system failed': addict kept getting prescribed opioids, says grieving mom

CBC News Manitoba, April 18, 2017

A Steinbach mother says her daughter is dead because the health-care system helped fuel her drug addiction. Ward found her daughter, her wrists racked with track marks and without a pulse, on April 4. Ward believes the doctor who had been prescribing Erickson morphine for years is partly to blame for her death.

'The system failed': addict kept getting prescribed opioids, says grieving mom

Overdose crisis: Island man, 33, dies from fentanyl-laced cocaine

Victoria Times Colonist, April 20, 2017

The night before Richard (Ricky) Scott died from an overdose, he was lying on the floor next to his seven-year-old daughter, watching cartoons on television at a Saanich home. It was March 4. “They fell asleep. His ex was on the couch,” said Scott’s mother, Tracy Morettin. “Around 6:30, 7 in the morning, his daughter got up and felt her dad was cold. She put a blanket on him, got a bowl of cereal. When he wouldn’t wake up, she told her mother.” He was dead.

Morettin said her son died from a suspected overdose of fentanyl-laced cocaine that was likely smoked. “Ricky was not an injection drug user,” she said. “He was a great dad and a person who didn’t deserve this.”

Overdose crisis: Island man, 33, dies from fentanyl-laced cocaine

Superheroes of Addiction Medicine

Promise Magazine: Spring/Summer 2017

SUPERHEROES OF THE COMMUNITY

Leslie McBain lost her son, Jordan, to an opioid addiction in 2014. Today, she leads Moms Stop the Harm, a substance use policy change advocacy group that she co-founded. “Harm reduction is our goal,” says McBain, though the group also provides much-needed support to members who have lost family to drug harm.
“We need better treatment in suburbs,” says Jennifer Woodside. In 2014, her son Dylan died of an overdose from oxycodone laced with fentanyl. Woodside recently founded Voice of the Family (VOF), which works with families who have lost children to addiction across Canada, specifically in the western provinces.

Superheroes of Addiction Medicine

Lobbying for change - a grassroots organization takes on Canada's opioid crisis.

SOS Magazine, May 3, 2017

While the opioid crisis rages on and becomes more and more complicated, there’s one thing that remains constant – the advocacy work carried out by MSTH ally Amy Graves and the members of GPDOTS. They’re urging the government to implement stricter controls around prescribing opioids, supervised consumption sites and increased accessibility to opioid substitution therapy.

Lobbying for change - a grassroots organization takes on Canada's opioid crisis.

Opioid deaths declining in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon mother still showing concern

CTV News Saskatoon, April 30, 2017

In 2016, 46 people died in Saskatchewan of an accidental overdose, according to the Office of the Chief Coroner. Of that number, 39 overdose cases were related to fentanyl. Marie Agioritis knows the struggle all too well. The Saskatoon mother lost her 19-year-old son, Kelly Bryan Best, to a fentanyl overdose in January of 2015.

Opioid deaths declining in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon mother still showing concern

University of Alberta Community Connections Awards 2017 - Elaine Hyshka

University of Alberta, April 26, 2017

Elaine Hyshka approaches the issue of substance use through a public health lens. A committed and engaged scholar, she works with policymakers, healthcare providers, and public health organizations within Edmonton and across the country to conduct research and improve health services. In addition to her faculty position, she is currently the Scientific Director of the Inner City Health and Wellness Program at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. She undertook one of largest and most extensive drug use studies in Edmonton to date, and looks to redefine the healthcare experience for people living with substance use disorders.

University of Alberta Community Connections Awards 2017 - Elaine Hyshka

Fentanyl: Niagara's silent killer

By Grant LaFleche, The Standard, Thursday, April 20, 2017

Jon Johnston's life wasn't supposed to end. Not that soon. Not like that.
He was supposed to be a known and respected chef among known and respected chefs. His creations were meant to delight diners and make other culinary artists jealous.

Johnston worked three jobs to put himself through chef's training at George Brown College. A year ago he was working at an upscale Toronto restaurant owned by Claudio Aprile, a judge on Canada's Master Chef television show. The future he worked so hard for was within reach.

Johnston's road came to an end at age 25 on a patch of sidewalk on the corner of Yonge and King streets in Toronto with a lethal dose of fentanyl in his veins, and only his health card, a list of dishes he recently cooked and a needle in his pocket.

Fentanyl: Niagara's silent killer

Canada’s first mobile overdose-prevention sites will soon hit the road in the Okanagan

Nick Eagland, Vancouver Sun, April 5, 2017

Kelowna resident Helen Jennens, a member of drug-policy advocacy group Moms Stop The Harm, said the mobile service is “a step in the right direction.”

But Jennens, who lost two sons to overdoses, said she wishes the federal government was quicker to approve supervised-consumption sites. She thought Kelowna would have one by now, considering the ongoing deaths.

“We know that the wheels move slowly when it comes to anything that’s political or in our health system,” she said. “But I don’t think this is the time to be dragging our heels.”

Canada’s first mobile overdose-prevention sites will soon hit the road in the Okanagan

Remembering Bria: Victoria woman dies from fentanyl overdose

CBC New Victoria, June 2, 2016

After trying to help his daughter break free from a drug addiction for more than a decade, Fernand Magnin says he had to prepare for the possibility he would one day lose her. But it didn't make it any easier. His daughter, Bria Magnin-Forster, 30, died from a fentanyl overdose in early May, 2016.

Remembering Bria: Victoria woman dies from fentanyl overdose

Fentanyl – What You Need to Know

Tyla Savard, Niki Brooks-Lukas, Grande Prarie AlbertaMarch 21, 2017

Fentanyl - What you need to know! is a community engagement event held in Grande Prairie Alberta bringing together community agencies, people with lived experience and families affected by the opioid crisis, to inform and educate the greater GP community. Future events, including presentation ins schools are planned.

Fentanyl – What You Need to Know

Provincial budget promises $45 million increase for addiction and mental health supports

Metro News Calgary, March 17, 2017

Rosalind Davis, an advocate who lost her partner to a fentanyl overdose last year says the money should be used to ensure immediate addiction treatment is available. Amy Graves, founder of the Get Prescription Drugs Off The Street Society (GPDOTS), said the cash should flow towards helping Albertan's who are already using or addicted to prescription opioids.

Provincial budget promises $45 million increase for addiction and mental health supports

Hardline approach to drug use costing lives, advocates tell Edmonton crowd

Edmonton Journal, March 10, 2017

Petra Schulz said it is foolish to think teenagers and young adults are not going to get into drugs, so one of her main messages is to encourage anyone at risk to practice safe habits — including having a naloxone kit nearby to reverse the effects of an overdose.

She said decriminalization would also be a good starting point to begin changing attitudes around drug use, and to shift people out of the justice system and into health programs. “We’ve had 50 years of a war on drugs and the only thing we have to show for it is a mounting death toll,” she said.

Hardline approach to drug use costing lives, advocates tell Edmonton crowd