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

Fort McMurray Mother Starts New Support Group After Losing Son To Fentanyl Overdose

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7, Elizabeth Priest, August 28, 2017

A Fort McMurray mother is starting a support group for those who have lost a loved one to an overdose or addiction. Back in October 2016, Mari-Lee Paluszak lost her only son, Todd Chambers, to a fentanyl overdose. The 29-year-old and father of a one-year-old struggled with mental illness and Paluszak says the only way he knew how to cope was “self medicate”. “There are other families out here in Fort McMurray, I’m sure they’re feeling the same thing but they just don’t have that group to go to. A lot of people just don’t understand what we’re feeling. They just kind of think, get over it and that. Well we will never get over, but will learn to cope.”

Fort McMurray Mother Starts New Support Group After Losing Son To Fentanyl Overdose

Men between 19 and 59 at the heart of B.C.’s opioid overdose epidemic

GRAEME ROY/THE CANADIAN PRESS, August 29, 2017

"I was saying we need a federal strategy to combat stigma because until we educate the Canadian population on what addiction is, how it presents, why it's happening, then we're not going to get sympathetic or courageous legislators," McBain said. "You have to normalize the conversation and also help people to understand that addiction is a health issue. It is not a moral failing."

Men between 19 and 59 at the heart of B.C.’s opioid overdose epidemic

Oil, Heartbreak, And Manhood: Behind The Mental Health Crisis Of Alberta's Oil Workers

Omar Mouallem, for BuzzFeed August 2, 017

“Not a lot of things in life are preventable,” she told them, “but suicide is.” said MSTH co-founder Lorna Thomas, who convinced a trade school in Alberta to adopt suicidee prevention training .following the suicide of her 24-year-old son Alex Thomas-Haug. He was working 60-hour weeks behind a welding visor that masked the dullness of his eyes. The once-exuberant redhead and aspiring filmmaker was increasingly irritable and resisting his parents’ attempts at outreach, but he sometimes complained about the macho work environment, the culture of shaming and toughness. Shortly after his death in 2012, Thomas brought a Tough Enough to Talk About It facilitator to her son’s former workplace to give the one-hour session as part of a safety meeting.

Oil, Heartbreak, And Manhood: Behind The Mental Health Crisis Of Alberta's Oil Workers

‘No handbook for parents’ when it comes to drug addiction

Time Colonist, July 30th, 2017

Howard is part of a growing army of parents affected by the overdose crisis and advocating for change, not just for their own children, but for others.

“There is no handbook for parents supporting a child with addictions and mental-health issues. You learn in the trenches and you come together,” said Howard.

She was joined at a downtown coffee shop by other parents helping to organize Overdose Awareness Month in Victoria, which kicks off Monday at 5 p.m. in Centennial Square with a community photo of anyone affected by the crisis — families, first-responders, front-line workers — and photos of those they’ve lost. On Aug. 31, Overdose Awareness Day will be marked across the country with events in Victoria and Nanaimo. The parents are part of an organization called Moms Stop the Harm, which has grown from three mothers from the Island and Alberta in 2016 to hundreds of parents across the country.

‘No handbook for parents’ when it comes to drug addiction

Harm reduction in name, but not substance: a comparative analysis

Elaine Hyshka et al., Harm Reduction Journal 2017

Conclusions: Current provincial and territorial policies offer few robust characterizations of harm reduction or go beyond rhetorical or generic support for the approach. By endorsing harm reduction in name, but not in substance, provincial and territorial policies may communicate to diverse stakeholders a general lack of support for key aspects of the approach, potentially challenging efforts to expand harm reduction services.

Harm reduction in name, but not substance: a comparative analysis

'Shapeshifting trickster'

Trevor Jang, July 7, 2017

Mac (grandson of MSTH Helen Jennens) is 13 years old and lives in Kelowna. His father, Tyler, overdosed last January on pure fentanyl that was disguised as heroin. Tyler had been struggling with an opiate addiction since 2010, after he ruptured his Achilles playing football and was prescribed Oxycontin. Tyler’s addiction quickly escalated to heroin shortly after his older brother Rian, Mac’s uncle, died of his own prescription-drug overdose in 2011.

'Shapeshifting trickster'

Drug-crisis advocate believes change in B.C. gov't may help slow agony

Vancouver Sun June 30, 2017

Leslie McBain, founder of Moms Stop the Harm, said she was pleased when premier-designate John Horgan mentioned fentanyl in an address he gave on the steps of Government House, moments after he was asked to form government.

Last year, McBain worked with Premier Christy Clark when her government struck a task force on opioid overdose. But McBain said Friday that it felt like the premier didn’t follow through on promises made to tackle the crisis.

“I feel like the Liberals paid lip service and that Christy, her heart wasn’t in it,” McBain said. “She wanted the information, she wanted to do the right thing. But I feel like John Horgan and the NDP are actually engaged on a different level.”

Drug-crisis advocate believes change in B.C. gov't may help slow agony

Horgan tells Christy Clark to stop stalling so he can get to work for British Columbians

The Indo-Canadian Voice, June 26, 2017

“Leslie McBain lost her son to the opiod crisis. She reached out to Christy Clark, hoping for real action to save the lives of other people like her son. What she got was empty words, without real action,” said Horgan.

“Christy Clark had a chance to work for Leslie McBain and save lives. She chose to work for her rich friends and corporate donors instead.”

Horgan tells Christy Clark to stop stalling so he can get to work for British Columbians

Consultations to begin on Calgary's first supervised consumption site

Calgary Herald, June 14, 2017

Petra Schulz was on hand to endorse the announcement on behalf of MSTH and all families who's loved ones could have been saved with timely harm reduction and treatment.

Petra Schulz, who lost her 25-year-old son, Danny, to a fentanyl overdose in 2014, said she’s pleased Calgary is moving in the direction of supervised consumption services. But she added that while the service is “very much needed,” she also wants to see different solutions for drug users outside the downtown.

“We need to bring rapid access to treatment wherever people are . . . so this is great, but we can’t stop here,” she said.

“We need to move out, and not just in the suburban communities, the cities, but there are many rural Albertans that are using drugs and that need help.”

Consultations to begin on Calgary's first supervised consumption site

Conversation over confrontation: Advocate fights fear of addiction centre with cup of coffee

CBC News Calgary, May 9

Rosalind Davis was visiting her parents in Windsor Park when a flyer calling recovering addicts and alcoholics "potentially dangerous" and bad for property values was dropped at their front door.

The wording on the flyer upset Davis and hit close to home. Her partner, Nathan Huggins-Rosenthal, died of a fentanyl overdose.

Conversation over confrontation: Advocate fights fear of addiction centre with cup of coffee

Alberta government creates a commission to tackle opioid deaths

St. Albert Gazette, June 3, 2017

A St. Albert mother who lost her daughter to a drug overdose in 2015 says she is pleased to see a provincial government commission to respond to the opioid crisis. Faye Gray made the comment this week after the Alberta government announced it will set up a commission to help deal with the increasing amount of opioid and fentanyl deaths in the province. “I just want this commission to help the people who are still with us and who might not be with us tomorrow or this afternoon or next week,” Gray said.

Alberta government creates a commission to tackle opioid deaths

B.C. painkiller overdoses spiked 97% to nearly five killed a day in April

Metro News Vancouver, May 31, 2017

“It’s so demoralizing,” admitted Leslie McBain, whose son Jordan, 25, died of an illicit drug overdose three years ago. “And it’s just getting worse.”

British Columbia's painkiller overdose epidemic has reached new grim records Wednesday, after newly released data showed its death toll this year so far is the exact same as it was by the end of September last year.

The public health emergency has so far killed 488 people between January and April this year, according to the B.C. Coroner's Service, with April seeing a staggering 136 deaths, a dramatic 97 per cent increase from April last year.

B.C. painkiller overdoses spiked 97% to nearly five killed a day in April

St. Albert mother shares dangers of fentanyl

St. Albert Gazette, Jun 03, 2017

Faye Gray’s daughter had only been using drugs for six weeks when she died of an overdose. Lindsey Gray was found dead on a mattress in a house in Edmonton from a fatal dose of methamphetamine and fentanyl on Nov. 2, 2015. Faye said that the night that Lindsey died she thinks she unknowingly ingested the fentanyl that was mixed in with the meth. The 32-year-old left behind a four-year-old son.

St. Albert mother shares dangers of fentanyl