Petra Schulz, Edmonton, AB and Mayne Island, BC
Petra lost her youngest child Danny to an accidental Fentanyl overdose in 2014. Danny was 25 years old. Danny loved to spend time with his family and friends, especially if it involved cooking a good meal. He was trained as a chef and worked in some of Edmonton’s best restaurants. He loved to play music with his friends, wrote some of his own lyrics and treasured getting together at the family cottage. Through the lessons learned from her personal experience and by sharing Danny's story Petra has become an advocate for drug policy reform aimed at reducing the harm associated with substance use.
She has been a speaker for TedX at MacEwan University, all levels of government, at conferences, community meetings, and professional organizations and universities (see highlights below). In 2018 Danny’s story and Petra’s advocacy work was featured in the documentary “Painkiller - Inside the Opioid Crisis”, and a digital story called “Choices” that Alberta Health Services uses for staff training (see links blow).
As a member of the Access to Medically Supervised Injection Services Edmonton (AMSISE) working group, she contributed to the implementation of the first supervised consumption services of in her home city. In this role she, and other members of the group presented to and met with officials of the Government of Alberta, Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Police Services and many other community stake holders.
Since June 2017 Petra has been appointed to the Alberta Government Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission (MOERC) as a representative for community advocacy groups. As part of its mandate, the Commission is responsible for making recommendations to the Minister for timely coordinated actions to address opioid use and related issues.
Petra hopes that the expansion of harm reduction services in Alberta and the rest of Canada will leave a lasting legacy in memory of her son Danny. Danny felt strongly about organ donation, now he is donating his story.
Petra’s website, with more of Danny’s story and her advocacy work is petraschulz.com.
Danny Schulz, January 13, 1989 - April 30, 2014.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESENTATIONS:
Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute, University of Alberta. Edmonton, March 15, 2019. WCHRI engaging social actors in health research lunch & learn: "partnering with bereaved parent advocates and families in substance use research and drug policy reform.
Stollery Children’s Hospital Research Day, Edmonton, November, 2018. “From Grief to Advocacy – Lessons Learned from Losing Danny”
Stimulus Conference - Drugs, Policy and Practice in Canada, Edmonton, AB. October, 2018. Oral presentations (peer reviewed abstracts) “Helping Families Cope with Grief & Trauma” and “Building Capacity, Supporting, and Learning From Families Affected by Substance Use”. Co-organized and participated in panel for public satellite symposium “How Can Communities Support Families Affected by the Opioid Crisis?”
Sturgeon Hospital Nursing Professional Development Day, St. Albert, AB, October 2018. “Lesson’s learned from losing Danny”.
Alberta Health Services Board of Directors Retreat - Edmonton, AB, July 2018. “The family experience in substance use and family advocacy”
CPLPNA Conference - Shifting Reality - Edmonton AB, May, 2018. Panelist in "Strategies in a time of Crisis – Opioids and Harm Reduction" http://www.clpnaconference.com/program/
Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ottawa, ON, March 2018. 2018 Law Enforcement Roundtable on Canada’s Opioid Crisis. Presentation and panelist in "Setting the Stage – the National, Regional and International Picture".
13th Covenant Health Research Day. February, 2018, Edmonton, AB. Oral presentation "Working towards a family-centered approach to addressing substance use". Schulz, P. Morris, H., Haines-Saah, R., Jenkins, E., May, D., & Hyshka, E. (2017).
Facilitated Community harm reduction workshop with MSTH Lorna Thomas. Kanai First Nation, Standoff, AB. November 2017.
Health Canada. Ottawa, ON, September, 2017. Presentation and discussion to Health Portfolio Opioids Working Group.
Speaker at International Overdose Awareness Day. Edmonton, AB on August 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
John Humphrey Ignite Change Conference. Edmonton, AB, August, 2017. Plenary presentation. "Painful lessons learned from losing Danny to the opioid crisis".
Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) | Prairies conference. Calgary, AB, June 2017. Panellist at public discussion forum. "Kids and Drugs: What parents need to know".
MacEwan University Visiting Lecture Series: The Opioid Crisis: Challenges, Risks, and Opportunities. Edmonton, AB, February 2017. Member of session planning committee, presentation and panellist. https://www.macewan.ca/wcm/MacEwanEvents/SS_VLS_OPIOID_CRISIS_17
ALERT Fentanyl Conference for police and law enforcement. Edmonton and Calgary, AB, October 2016. Plenary presentation "Lessons learned from losing Danny",
Student Advocates for Public Health, Edmonton, AB. March, 2016. Presentation and panelist.
Harm Reduction: A Family Focus, Prince Edward Island October, 2015. Member of plenary panel.
13th Alberta Harm Reduction Conference, Edmonton, June 2015. "New Perspectives on Illegal Drugs". Member of plenary panel.
CTV Alberta Prime Time, September 15, 2016. Petra Schulz shares the story her son Danny's struggle with substance use and how she has translated her personal loss into advocacy with the MSTH mothers.