MSTH began with a need to speak out about the ongoing drug poisoning crisis. MSTH co-founders Lorna Thomas and Petra Schulz, both from Edmonton, and Leslie McBain, from Pender Island, BC first met in 2015. They met after a report about the death of Petra’s son Danny, from an accidental fentanyl overdose, appeared in the Edmonton Journal. Lorna reached out to Petra because her son Alex had died by suicide after struggling with mental health and substance use. Leslie’s son Jordan Miller died from an overdose after becoming opioid dependent on prescription drugs.
They started to work together in August 2015 but did not form Moms Stop The Harm until April 2016, after Lorna and Leslie returned from a trip to New York where they attended the United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions (UNGASS) on drug policy. What began as an advocacy initiative by three concerned mothers is now a network of several hundred Canadian individuals and families.