B.C. families say they’re often prevented from being involved in addiction treatment

Globe and Mail, April 11, 2018

Families with loved ones addicted to illicit drugs struggle to navigate British Columbia’s health-care system and are often prohibited from being involved in care because of privacy and confidentiality policies, says a woman who tried to help her daughter before she died. Deb Bailey said her 21-year-old daughter, Ola Bailey, was found dead in the stairwell of a building in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 2015, after overdosing on heroin laced with fentanyl.

Leslie McBain, who advocates for families at the BC Centre on Substance Use, also said it’s time for the government to stop consultations with families and start helping people in desperate need. “How much consultation do we actually need?” said McBain, whose family doctor also excluded her from her 25-year-old son’s care before he died of an overdose of opioids that were prescribed to him for a back injury.

B.C. families say they’re often prevented from being involved in addiction treatment

Report that says parents are overlooked in treating substance abuse reflects mother’s experience

Surrey Now Leader April 11, 2018

A B.C. woman whose daughter died of a drug overdose is calling on the province to better involve family in addiction treatment.

Deborah Bailey spent many frustrating years trying to get proper treatment for her adopted daughter, Izzy, before she died just before Christmas in 2015.

Izzy overdosed four times in the year before her death. Bailey was never told about those, however, because her daughter was legally an adult.

Report that says parents are overlooked in treating substance abuse reflects mother’s experience

New support for parents whose children died from substance use

The Squamish Chief, April 9, 2018

Two Squamish mothers [and MSTH Members] are turning their grief into action by launching a Squamish support group for parents whose child has died from a substance-use related death.

“There’s nothing in this town for people who have lost their children or partners — people who they love — to substance use,” said Jully Buckley, whose son Travis died in December of 2016 when he was 33 years old. “There are nuances to the loss that isn’t the same as going to a bereavement group... It is often not the same kind of conversation.”

New support for parents whose children died from substance use

BC Interior Health launches new web to curb overdose deaths at home and alone

Global News, Arpril 5, 2018

In an effort to curb the number of overdose deaths in Kelowna and in the Okanagan, IHA has launched a new website, hoping to reach drug addicts who use alone. It says most of the overdose deaths are happening in private homes. Two family members, including MSTH Arlene Howe, who’ve lost loved ones to an overdose are sharing their stories, hoping it will convince others to take precautions before using.

BC Interior Health launches new web to curb overdose deaths at home and alone

One-on-one with a Parent Who Has Experienced the Opioid Epidemic Firsthand

Urban Moms, April 3, 2018

MSTH Tyla Savard shares her family's story.

It was 2012 when Tyla Savard realized her daughter, Carrissa, had a serious substance use disorder. Carrissa was struggling with fentanyl – something Savard didn’t even know how to spell, to try to find information on the Internet. “It didn’t matter” she said. “There was no information.”

Carrissa had been introduced to the drug by a boyfriend who had brought her into a group of approximately 12—all who were using fentanyl. And within a couple of years, Carrissa was using 20 to 40 times a day at $80 a pop, living on the streets, and escorting to make money.

Of the nine girls in the group that Carrissa was hanging out with, only two are still alive. Two were murdered. The others overdosed and died. “Carrissa always used a pill form and crushed and snorted it. We’d find pieces of straw and empty baggies lying around.” Savard says she thought the powdery residue was “maybe crumbs or dust.”

One-on-one with a Parent Who Has Experienced the Opioid Epidemic Firsthand

'A human rights issue': Lack of treatment for drug users means deaths behind bars

CBC News, Aprile 4, 2018

MSTH Michelle McPherson's son Curtis McGowan was rushed to the Guelph, Ont., hospital by paramedics after overdosing, where he was revived with the opioid-reversal drug naloxone. "The police were there to arrest him … because part of his probation is not using drugs," she recalled. A month later, he was found dead in his cell at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex in nearby Milton after overdosing on fentanyl.

'A human rights issue': Lack of treatment for drug users means deaths behind bars

The escalating toll: 2017 set to be worst year in Canada for overdoses

Andrea Woo, The Globe and Mail, March 28, 2018

“But the greatest barrier to [reducing] stigma,” Ms. Schulz said in an interview, “is the criminalization of substance use. And until we make the difficult and maybe not politically popular decision with some sectors of society [to decriminalize personal possession], it’s really hard to get people to come out and seek help. It’s hard to seek help for something that is considered a criminal act.”

The escalating toll: 2017 set to be worst year in Canada for overdoses

Edmonton supervised consumption site opening at Royal Alexandra Hospital April 2

Global News Edmonton, March 27, 2918

"As mothers and families, we want to keep our loved ones alive and as healthy as possible until they can arrive at a place in their lives where treatment works for them. This supervised consumption site will help us achieve that outcome.

“These services are about keeping people alive and building relationships,” Schulz said. “Within the hospital setting, health professionals can reach out to individuals who might otherwise not seek help, and connect them with harm reduction, treatment and social services.”

Edmonton supervised consumption site opening at Royal Alexandra Hospital April 2

First Supervised consumption site to open in Edmonton

March 22, 2018

A group of stakeholders, including MSTH has worked for several years to seek approval and funding for a distributed SCS model in Edmonton's inner city, housed with agencies that already provide health and harm reduction services. Petra Schulz was part of the team that gave over 55 presentations to various levels of government, community stakeholders and interest groups.

The media coverage below covers the opening of the first locaiton, in Boyle Street Community Services.

First supervised consumption site to open in Edmonton Friday
Metro News Edmonton, March 22, 2018

Edmonton’s first safe injection location set to open
Global News Edmonton, March 22, 2018

Edmonton's first supervised drug consumption site unveiled
Edmonton Journal, March 23, 2018

Royal Alex debuts supervised consumption service
Alberta Health Services April 3, 2018

 Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, left, MLA David Shepherd, Moms Stop the Harm co-founder Petra Schulz, Dr. Kathryn Dong of the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson open the RAH’s Supervised Consumption Service, the first hospital-based service of its kind in North America. Schulz holds a portrait of her son Danny, who died of an accidental Fentanyl overdose in 2014. Photo by AHS. 

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, left, MLA David Shepherd, Moms Stop the Harm co-founder Petra Schulz, Dr. Kathryn Dong of the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson open the RAH’s Supervised Consumption Service, the first hospital-based service of its kind in North America. Schulz holds a portrait of her son Danny, who died of an accidental Fentanyl overdose in 2014. Photo by AHS. 

Time to act on harm reduction promises: open letter to the liberal party of Canada

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Drug policy is at a critical juncture in Canada, and we need our elected representatives to put even greater emphasis on public health objectives and outcomes, respecting human rights for all. Welcome steps have been taken on this front following the 2015 election, including restoring harm reduction as a key pillar of Canada’s drug strategy, and moving to legalize and regulate cannabis. But in 2016, nearly 3,000 Canadians died from opioid-related causes; in 2017, that number grew and will continue to rise without a significant change in course.

Download the open letter on the HIV/AIDS legal network linked here. Talk to your local MP. Tell them we need to decriminalize simple possession.

Time to act on harm reduction promises: open letter to the liberal party of Canada

Offer drug testing at safe consumption sites, Alberta opioid commission recommends

Edmonton Journal, March 9, 2018

While questions persist about the effectiveness of fentanyl-sensing strips and other testing devices, providing insight to users on what they plan to inject or ingest will undoubtedly save lives, commission leaders said.

“Anytime you can give people a bit more understanding than absolutely none about what’s in their drugs, I think that’s a positive,” Elaine Hyshka, co-chair of the Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission, told a news conference downtown.

Offer drug testing at safe consumption sites, Alberta opioid commission recommends

Naloxone training session an opportunity to help save lives: Organizer

Metro Edmonton, March 9, 2018

Abby Blackburn knows what it’s like to lose a friend to a preventable overdose.

After her friend died due to a presumed opioid overdose about a month ago, Blackburn felt a renewed obligation to continue holding harm reduction and naloxone kit training sessions to help prevent others from losing loved ones.

Naloxone training session an opportunity to help save lives: Organizer

Supervised injections site in St. Catharines

CHCH February 27, 2018

St. Catharines council has unanimously passed a motion in support of a temporary supervised injection site. We spoke to one Beamsville mother [MSTH and NAMES memer Sandi Tantradini] whose son died of a fentanyl overdose and says this move is a small victory in the war against opioids.

28-year-old Scott Tantradini died of a fentanyl overdose. He had 4 times the anaesthetic dose of fentanyl in his system. Following his death, his mother Sandi turned to advocacy and has been fighting to get a supervised injection site in Niagara. On Monday her dream got a step closer to reality. St. Catharines council gave the green light for a pilot program in the city to help combat the growing crisis.

Supervised injections site in St. Catharines

Driven by the opioid crisis, mothers become activists and call on Ottawa to decriminalize drugs

Travis Lupick, The Georgia Straight, February 28th, 2018

A noisy street protest marched through downtown Vancouver on February 20 calling for government action on overdose deaths. The crowd mostly consisted of the usual sort of Downtown Eastside rabble-rousers who have pushed drug-policy reform in B.C. for decades. But marching with them this time was a straight-looking contingent of middle-class women.

One of them was Louise Cameron, who told the Straight that she joined up with the national group Moms Stop the Harm(MSTH) in the summer of 2017.

“A dear friend of mine lost her son to a fentanyl poisoning,” she recounted. “It was the third friend in 18 months who’d lost a child to fentanyl.

“And it just lit a big ol’ fire in my heart,” Cameron continued. “I thought, ‘Okay, enough. Time to do more.’ ”

Since then, Cameron, who also lost a child to addiction, has worked with MSTH’s B.C. members on specific policies they believe will reduce overdose deaths.

Driven by the opioid crisis, mothers become activists and call on Ottawa to decriminalize drugs

2018-02-20  CAPUD day of action Louise (3).jpg

Former doctor, fentanyl [using person] shares story to help others

Now released from prison, a former doctor and recovering fentanyl [using person] is trying to help others who are going down the same road he went down. “A person does not need a bottom to get help,” he says. “By me sharing my feelings again helps other people and myself.”

MSTH ally Darryl Gabien openly shares his journey from drug use to recovery, to prison and to becoming an advocate.

Former doctor, fentanyl [using person] shares story to help others

The Simi Sarah Show: BC Mom Whose Sons Died Of Overdoses Urges Mandatory Prescription Database Check

Global News Radio, February 19, 2018

Helen Jennens' two sons died of fatal opioid overdoses. Now, she says their deaths could have been prevented if doctors had simply checked their prescription drug histories. Jennens' is now asking the government to implement a mandatory prescription database check before prescirbing new pain medication.

The Simi Sarah Show: BC Mom Whose Sons Died Of Overdoses Urges Mandatory Prescription Database Check

Grieving B.C. mother joins advocates for drug decriminalization after daughter's overdose death

CBC News BC, February 20, 2018

Niki Hanson is still getting used to the idea her daughter is dead.

"I had a police officer come to my home and tell me," the resident of Prince George, B.C., said. Her 26-year-old, Courtney, had been alone when she fatally overdosed in Vancouver last October, one of more than 1,420 people counted by the B.C. Coroners Service in what the chief coroner called the province's "most tragic year ever".

Hanson has found an outlet for her grief: she's thrown herself into advocacy work, joining the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs [and MSTH], which calls on governments to include past and current drug users in shaping policy around the overdose crisis.

Grieving B.C. mother joins advocates for drug decriminalization after daughter's overdose death

Grande Prairie group applying to open supervised drug consumption site

CBC News, Feb. 13, 2018

Dr. Elaine Hyshka, co-chair of Alberta's Opioid Emergency Response Commission, said the numbers prove supervised drug consumption sites can save lives. "They can seem a bit counterintuitive," Hyshka said. "But really the evidence is quite clear that they have strong public health benefits."

The sites can also reduce the impact drug users have on communities, she said. Staff are able to safely dispose of needles and can step in when something goes wrong. "I'm glad to see that work on supervised consumption services is moving forward in Grande Prairie and I think that they certainly do have a potential to reduce opioid poisonings in that community. "They won't end the opioid crisis, but they're an important part of care for people who are using, and they will save lives."

Grande Prairie group applying to open supervised drug consumption site