An Open Letter to the Honourable Jane Philpot, Federal Minister of Health

Dear Honorable Minister Jane Philpot,

[I listened to the whole Opioid Conference from the comfort of my home in BC. I heard your closing remarks. So therefore today, I am doing what you asked of us to do, I am going to PUSH the government because as you said, ‘The wheels of government move slowly.’]

So here is today's little PUSH:

My son’s friend Dayton almost died on August 29th from a Fentanyl overdose. Instead he ended up with a traumatic brain injury.

Luckily the Vancouver hospital was able to contact his mother and she was able to intervene from letting them just discharge him back to the streets, while his brain injury continued to do more damage.

You see she had to get from Kamloops down to Vancouver quickly. Now she lives down there to care for Dayton who cannot be left alone for more than an hour.

Dayton was almost one of 28 Fatal Fentanyl overdose deaths this August 2016 in BC. Dayton was almost one of 94 Fatal Fentanyl overdose deaths of our young adults between the ages of 19-29 yrs old in BC in 2016. Dayton was also a friend of my son, Tyler Aaron Robinson who died back in January. So now my son Tyler is one of the total 332 Fatal Fentanyl overdose deaths in BC so far in 2016 (BC Coroner’s Report, November 2016).

Well today is Dayton’s 22nd Birthday! I am so happy that Dayton is alive! Dayton still has a lot of healing to do and that will require lots of support in various ways.

Once our loved ones are saved from an overdose, we need funding to create a triage of accommodation, treatment and recovery available for those who are ‘willing, waiting and worried’ that they may die before they get the help they need! Our children need preventative and continuous dignified Health Care. This Health Crisis is going to cost us Canadians money for years to come!

Parents across Canada are connecting to share and support each other. Many of us are shocked to see the lack of supports right across Canada. We need equitable healthcare for our children whether they are youths or adults! An overdose death could happen to anyone’s child! We need to keep our kids alive!

So every day I remember your closing remarks that I quickly tried to dictate while listening to the Opioid Conference online. Y ou were saying,

“Approach it from every angle..

Save people everyday on the street…

lets keep pushing one another…

wheels of gov’t move painfully slowly…

she can see the path forward…

given realities faced by a whole number of huge issues..


Address the real inequities in life lost…

Don’t ever stop challenging assumptions…

we have to get this right..."

Minister Jane Philpot

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

Sherry Vaile Robinson, Kamloops, BC