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

City and province must do more to deal with opioid crisis, say Red Deer advocates

The Red Deer Advocate, August 31, 2018

They call for safe consumption site and drug treatment centre

Deborah Watson, whose two adult children have been struggling with drugs, doesn’t feel the city or the province are doing enough to deal with the opioid crisis. “It’s cheaper to treat (addicted people) than to house them in federal prisons,” said Watson, a member of the national group MomsStopTheHarm.

City and province must do more to deal with opioid crisis, say Red Deer advocates

Williams Lake residents encouraged to wear purple for Overdose Awareness Day

The Williams Lake Tribune August 30, 2018

Tie a #purple ribbon for somebody’s someone Friday, August 31

A local woman is encouraging residents to wear purple Friday for Overdose Awareness Day.

Kristen Meadows said she has been deeply impacted by the overdose epidemic and hopes people will wear a purple shirt or ribbon in memory of loved ones lost to an overdose.

Williams Lake residents encouraged to wear purple for Overdose Awareness Day

Regina mother continues human rights battle for son denied detox

CBC Saskatchewan, August 17, 2018

Every day Regina's Jenny Churchill wonders, 'What if?'
What if her son Jordan Wakelam had been permitted to enter a detox facility in Moose Jaw rather than being told to leave?
These questions are at the heart of a dispute now under investigation by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
"He did go into another detox program. He lived though for the rest of his few months, the rest of his life, with shame," Churchill said.

Regina mother continues human rights battle for son denied detox

Scores continue to die from fentanyl as International Overdose Awareness Day observed

Calgary Herald, August 31, 2018

As people gathered at City Hall for International Overdose Awareness Day on Friday, the province released new numbers that show 160 people died from fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta between April and June. 

Calgary’s second annual Overdose Awareness Day, held by [MSTH allies] Change the Face of Addiction, saw about 200 people attend, holding signs of support and photos of loved ones who were lost to drug overdose.

Scores continue to die from fentanyl as International Overdose Awareness Day observed

High Level Bridge vigil to be held for International Overdose Awareness Day

Edmonton Journal, August 31, 2018

Jeanie Adams’ daughter had just turned 28 when she died.
Adams remembers coming home days before the birthday celebration to find two people from the police department at her door.

“I knew in my heart,” she said while seated in her northwest Edmonton home Thursday, a photo of her daughter hanging by the entranceway. “I knew something was wrong.”

High Level Bridge vigil to be held for International Overdose Awareness Day

B.C. alleges 20 years of deception in opioid lawsuit

Globe and Mail, August 29, 2018

Leslie McBain, whose son, Jordan Miller, died of an opioid overdose in Victoria in 2014, welcomed the government’s announcement. Her son became dependent on oxycodone after he was prescribed it for a workplace injury when he was 23. Mr. Miller went to detox, but relapsed and fatally overdosed a few months later. He was 25.

“The lawsuit may never come to fruition in terms of the government winning and getting a lot of money to mitigate the costs of the crisis for British Columbians,” Ms. McBain said. However, she added, “The point really is to show Canadians that we do hold [opioid manufacturers] accountable for deaths.”

B.C. alleges 20 years of deception in opioid lawsuit

Comox display visual representation of lives lost to overdose

Comox Valley News August 27, 2018

When Judith Conway visited a local fabric store for supplies a few days ago, she expected it to be a quick trip.

An hour later, Conway found herself in the Comox Valley store, purchases ready to go, listening to other people share their stories.

The conversation began after they asked Conway what she was doing with the material she had purchased.

“The idea just came to me, and within a few days, I contacted a few ladies. I really wanted to show a good visual of how many people die (of overdoses), and a string seemed like a good idea.”

Comox display visual representation of lives lost to overdose

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Times Colonist JULY 22, 2018

"Schools like this are exactly what we need because we do need to stop living in shame and denial," Walker said of rampant drug use among teens, who often start by experimenting but can become dependent on substances to deal with issues such as anxiety and depression.

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Hooked: Opioids taking their toll on Sask. families and communities

Regina Leader Post, July 18, 2018

In her head, Marie Agioritis had already planned her son’s funeral. She knew her boy Kayle Best was [addicted to opioids]. She’d seen him through the lost jobs, the trashed condo, the arrests and the abusive behaviour. His addiction started innocently. Kayle suffered debilitating migraines, up to four or five a month since the age of two. A few months before he graduated from Grade 12, a schoolmate offered him opioids to relieve the pain. Kayle took the pills, followed by more pills. When the phone call came on Jan. 3, 2015, Marie was almost expecting it.

What she wasn’t expecting was the news from her ex-husband that their other son, Kelly, had died from an overdose. Kelly, 19, had taken a pill that turned out to be laced with fentanyl. “It’s the most painful place that you will ever, ever feel,” says Agioritis. For Kayle, the pain was compounded by guilt. The fatal pill came from a person in Kayle’s drug circle, and Kayle was with his brother the night before his death.

Hooked: Opioids taking their toll on Sask. families and communities

No easy answer for opioids

Lethbridge Herald, July 10, 2018

Shannon Degraaf was in attendance as part of a group called Moms Stop the Harm. The group includes Canadian mothers who have come together for support as families who have lost loved ones to substance abuse or are currently dealing with those issues within their families.
She said the group is pushing for more compassion for those dealing with drug issues.
“There’s not a lot of (compassion) out there,” she said. “We’re trying to stop the stigma so people will come forward and admit they have a problem and get help before it’s too late.”

No easy answer for opioids

Time to talk about carrying naloxone in schools, parent advocates say

CBC News Edmonton, June 29, 2018

Edmonton schools should consider stocking naloxone kits to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, says a mother who lost her son to an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2014.  "It is medication, but I would compare it more to giving first aid," said Petra Schulz, founder of Moms Stop The Harm, a network for people who have lost loved ones to substance abuse.

Time to talk about carrying naloxone in schools, parent advocates say