Community hyper vigilance anticipated by Red Deer harm reduction agency

Red Deer Advocate, November 27, 2018

Deborah Watson, Central Alberta leader with Moms Stop The Harm, was grateful city council approved the application.

“It is an excellent decision and shows our city is capable of being a compassionate place for our most vulnerable citizens,” Watson said.

She would like the city to go further and publicly support the consumption site, similar to the support shown by Lethbridge’s mayor and council.

Community hyper vigilance anticipated by Red Deer harm reduction agency

New doc Painkiller delves into B.C.'s opioid epidemic with nuance and compassion, finding possible solutions

Travis Lupick, Georgia Straight, November 23, 2018

Watch Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis, a thoughtful look at a health emergency that killed more than 4,000 people across Canada in 2017

Petra Schultz, a founding member of the B.C.-based group Moms Stop the Harm, recounts losing her son to an addiction to opioids in a new documentary that's screening in Vancouver on November 26, 2018.

New doc Painkiller delves into B.C.'s opioid epidemic with nuance and compassion, finding possible solutions

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TELUS Health presents: Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis A TELUS Health Originals documentary

Telus Health, November 22, 2018

Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis, a TELUS Health Originals documentary tells the human story behind the opioid epidemic affecting Canada. The documentary seeks to raise awareness and end the stigma of addiction by educating and informing viewers on what Fentanyl is and how it is affecting our country. Petra Schulz and MSTH are featured in this documentary.

TELUS Health presents: Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis A TELUS Health Originals documentary

Episode 12 - Turning the Titanic - Leslie Mcbain of Moms Stop the Harm

SayKnow.org November 20, 2018

Leslie is a co-founder of Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH) - an organization of moms who have lost their children to the disease of addiction. They have banded together for strength; to advocate for compassionate policy changes in the face of an epidemic that continues to take away lives.They strive to decriminalize the possession of drugs and want the federal government to create a safe, regulated supply of opioids in order to save thousands of preventable deaths.

Episode 12 - Turning the Titanic - Leslie Mcbain of Moms Stop the Harm

Legalized drugs would help addicts, all of us, says advocate mom

Leader Post, November 20, 2018

Agiortis acknowledged that moms with sympathetic stories brought up by the NDP Opposition on the assembly floor do draw attention to many issues involving opioid addictions.

But she fears compelling stories from moms of kids struggling with addiction are not enough to “move things ahead.” She now believes politicians must legalize drugs to ensure safe supply for addicts and to end the cycle of crime related to drugs.

Legalized drugs would help addicts, all of us, says advocate mom

The Crucial Role of Mothers in Reforming Drug Policy

Talking Drugs, November 20, 2018

Mothers in the UK, US, Canada, and beyond are advocating for drug policy reform; for many, their advocacy follows the death or incarceration of their child as a result of the drug war.

In Canada, a group of mothers - Leslie McBain, Petra Schulz and Lorna Thomas – developed a bond after each one of them lost a son because of the lack of public health support for people who use drugs. Two of the young men died of opioid overdoses, while one took his own life while struggling with cocaine use and mental health issues. The three mothers established an organisation, Moms Stop the Harm, which advocates for various harm reduction measures, including increased access to naloxone (a medication which reverses opioid overdoses), and “Good Samaritan” laws which legally protect individuals from prosecution if they call emergency services in the case of a drug overdose.

Marie Agioritis, a board member of Moms Stop the Harm who joined the group following the death of her son in 2015, said that “there was an instant connection. All of these like-minded women wanting to inspire change. It’s this web of women connecting with broken hearts.”

The Crucial Role of Mothers in Reforming Drug Policy

Moms united in grief and new purpose: to change how addiction is treated in Canada

The Globe and Mail, NOVEMBER 18, 2018

Leslie McBain, Petra Schulz and Lorna Thomas share a common, unwanted bond. Each of them has endured the pain of losing a son to drugs.

Ms. McBain, Ms. Schulz and Ms. Thomas are working to change that. In the early days, their grief engulfed them. Then, it gave way to anger and determination. If Canada had adequate programs in place to treat mental illness and addiction, the women say, perhaps their children would still be here.

Moms united in grief and new purpose: to change how addiction is treated in Canada

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Faster access to drug used to treat alcohol abuse could improve treatment: MD

CBC News Manitoba: Nov 19, 2018

When Arlene Last-Kolb's son Jessie, 24, died from a drug overdose a little more than four years ago, she turned to alcohol to help with her grief.

It was a way for her to deal with the shock, it helped her get through her day, it helped her sleep.

"It was getting to the point where it was getting really hard and very sad," Last-Kolb said. "I needed to make a change."

Faster access to drug used to treat alcohol abuse could improve treatment: MD

Comment: Declare an emergency over opioid crisis

Times Colonist, NOVEMBER 17, 2018

Our premiers need to call upon our prime minister and his Liberal government to declare this crisis a national public-health emergency, so real changes can be made to save lives now. Canada’s chief public-health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, stated that: “Tragically, in 2016, there were more deaths from opioid-related deaths than from the HIV epidemic in 1995. This is a major public-health crisis in Canada.”

Our governments are responsible for the safety of their citizens, and they have the responsibility to do all they can to stop preventable deaths. Tragically, optics and the fear of losing votes are preventing this.

John and Jennifer Hedican are Ryan’s parents. Megan and Kyle are his sister and brother. They live in Courtenay.

Comment: Declare an emergency over opioid crisis

Proposed safe drug consumption service goes to public meeting Tuesday

The Red Deer Advocate Nov. 10, 2018

Deborah Watson, of the national group Moms Stop the Harm, has two children who struggle with addiction and she wants to put a human face to the disease.

It’s a matter of life and death for people’s sons, daughters, mothers and fathers who did not choose to become opioid addicts, said Deborah Watson.

Proposed safe drug consumption service goes to public meeting Tuesday

Alberta opts out of national opioid study, highlighting gaps in overdose data

Globe and Mail, OCTOBER 5, 2018

Petra Schulz, co-founder of the advocacy group Moms Stop the Harm, said there was an air of frustration at an opioid conference in Edmonton during the first week of October as people have grown angry with the increasing number of fatalities due to overdose and government inaction, especially in Ontario where a new Progressive Conservative government has put a stop to opening new overdose-prevention sites.

While Ms. Schulz said Alberta has done a better job of collecting data in recent years, the province’s data don’t delve deep enough into what interactions people have with the health-care system before their deaths – the kind of questions being asked by the federal study.

Alberta opts out of national opioid study, highlighting gaps in overdose data

Perspectives on Saskatoon’s evolving opioid crisis

Global News Saskatchewan, October 30, 2018

Some of the common themes that emerged were improving and expanding pain management programs in the province, increasing funding, improving education of professionals and the public as well as improving social determinants of health.

“We know what the solutions are, it’s just that we don’t always have access to those solutions,” said Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman who now works as a recovery advocate.

Gore-Hickman said from her experience, those who need the help often don’t get it when they need it the most.

“I had one die on Oct. 5, he was waiting for a bed in Saskatchewan in one of our addiction centres and the wait list was six weeks,” Gore-Hickman said.

Perspectives on Saskatoon’s evolving opioid crisis

Families affected by opioid crisis need more support, Alberta prof says

CBC News Edmonton, Oct 3, 2018

McBain and Haines-Saah are both presenting during a panel discussion Thursday night in Edmonton about how communities can support families affected by the opioid crisis.

The panel comes as drug policy experts, drug users and members of harm reduction organizations meet at the Shaw Conference Centre this week for the Stimulus conference on drug policy and practice in Canada.

Families affected by opioid crisis need more support, Alberta prof says

OPINION: How B.C. educators can play a role in addressing the opioid overdose crisis

Vancouver Courier, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

Schools can help remove stigma, change the language used about addiction and, most crucially, build resilience and other strengths in students, three noted panelists told the audience at the Frankly Speaking event on Sept. 22.

Leslie McBain, who lost her 25-year-old son Jordan to an overdose in 2014, said there are many things she wished she had learned before he died.

“I wish I’d known deeply what addiction is — how it looks, how it feels, how it manifests,” McBain said. “Because then I wouldn’t have been so hard on my son at that time… We all need education on addiction.”

Changing the language is a powerful tool for changing stigma, she said. Words like “junkie” stigmatize people who use drugs.

“Words do change culture and then they change our ideas,” she said. “We need to check our own stigma at every turn.”

OPINION: How B.C. educators can play a role in addressing the opioid overdose crisis

‘Death by overdose does not discriminate’: Guelph mother shares son’s story

Global News, Guelph, August 30, 2018

A Guelph mother is sharing an important message after her son died of fentanyl poisoning last fall.

Death by overdose does not discriminate,” Dorothy Bakker told a crowd gathered in downtown Guelph on Thursday to mark Overdose Awareness Day.

‘Death by overdose does not discriminate’: Guelph mother shares son’s story

Families sharing loss gather to talk addiction

Medicine Hat News September 14, 2018

A small group gathered Thursday evening outside city hall with each member sharing at least one thing with everyone else. They’ve all lost someone they love to drug addiction.

The local group is part of a national network called Moms Stop the Harm — Canadian families whose loved ones have died due to substance use, or who desperately hope for recovery.

“We’re here to support each other and we’re here to support a cause we believe in,” said Bob Westgarth, whose son Shane died of an overdose on New Year’s Day of last year. The group spent the evening downtown talking among itself as well as taking time to share stories with members of the local media.

“Medicine Hat will be getting a supervised consumption site before year’s end, a facility that everyone at Thursday’s get-together supported.

Families sharing loss gather to talk addiction

Another Princeton family devastated by drug death

The Similkameen Spotlight, Sep. 6, 2018
Friday August 31 was International Overdose Awareness Day. Nicki and her daughters, Kristie and Jess, spent the preceding days making posters, curling purple ribbons and decorating their garden with memorials to Davy and Nicki’s sister Tracey, who died of a drug overdose five years ago.

“What I want to do now is speak out,” she says. “We have to speak out and end the stigma and stand together against this crisis.”

Another Princeton family devastated by drug death

Stories shared at International Overdose Awareness Day

Fort McMurray Today, September 3, 2018

When Christopher Shebib hurt his knee in an accident, he was given painkillers while he recovered. But what was meant to help cope with the pain turned into an addiction.

In August of 2016, Shebib died from an overdose after taking cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl. He was 28.

On Friday, Meints was one of several people who shared how overdoses and drug battles have impacted their lives at the Redpoll Centre, where the HIV North Society held an event for International Overdose Awareness Day.

Stories shared at International Overdose Awareness Day

‘Too much stigma and not enough healthcare’: Rally calls for drug policy changes

CTV National News, September 1, 2018

Louise Cameron is a leader of the Vancouver chapter of Moms Stop the Harm, a national network of people who have lost loved-ones to drug addiction and overdoses.

“In a perfect world … all substances would be legalized and controlled by the government so that people that desperately needed them could have a clean and safe supply, be stabilized, and then ushered into a range of options for treatment,” Cameron said. “Addiction isn’t a choice, but recovery is.” She said she dreams of a world in which events like Friday’s are no longer necessary.

‘Too much stigma and not enough healthcare’: Rally calls for drug policy changes