'I was dead for 10 minutes': Vancouver's opioid overdose crisis

Petra's letter to CBC the current in regards to their broad cast of 'I was dead for 10 minutes': Vancouver's opioid overdose crisis on December 19, 2016.

We lost our youngest son Danny (age 25) to a Fentanyl overdose in 2014, and I have since become an advocate for harm reduction and drug policy reform.

Your documentary provides insight and draws attention to this health crisis, which is important and appreciated. What it does not do and where it falls short, is in identifying the obvious solutions to address this health crisis. The solutions are clear, simple, evidence based, inexpensive, and practiced in other countries.

The solutions fall under the umbrella of harm reduction and they are not new. In the face of this crisis they need to be implemented rapidly to end the carnage. They involved the following measures: We need ensure there is ready access to Naloxone, and replacement therapies with Suboxone and Methadone, across the country. We need access to treatment programs that embrace harm reduction. We need supervised consumption services across the country and we need them now. We need to offer heroin assisted treatment (heroin on prescription) to those with chronic addition issues for whom other treatment options have not worked. Physicians need to change their prescription practices so Canadian’s are no longer the second highest users of opioid based pain medications in the world, and we need to offer real drug education for young people, not scare tactics, with approaches used to teach about safe sex and drinking and driving.

It is essential that we end the failed war on drugs, and we need to shift our thinking from blaming the person to realizing that people who are drug dependant need medical help.

For me, and the others members of Moms Stop The Harm, who all have lost loved ones due to substance use, the definition of harm reduction is simple. It means keeping them alive so they can make a better decision on another day.


Petra Schulz

Link to the CBC broadcast 'I was dead for 10 minutes': Vancouver's opioid overdose crisis