Advocates urge province to unfreeze funding for supervised-injection sites

CBC New, June 3, 2019

The UCP government's decision to freeze funding for new supervised injection sites in Alberta increases the risk of people dying of an overdose, say advocates on the front line of the opioid crisis.

"It's very distressing because we know that these sites save lives," said Petra Schulz, an Edmonton mother who lost her son to a fatal overdose in 2014.

She is the founder of Moms Stop the Harm, a group that advocates for a harm-reduction approach to fighting addiction.

It's imperative the UCP government continue to fund the efforts currently in place, she said.

"We are just hoping that this investment will be in measures that are evidence-based, measures that save lives."

Advocates urge province to unfreeze funding for supervised-injection sites

Three Alberta supervised drug-use sites on hold as UCP government freezes funding

JUNE 04, 2019

By Madeline Smith Star Calgary

Nadine Yousif Star Edmonton

Mon., June 3, 2019

Petra Schulz of Edmonton is a co-founder of Moms Stop the Harm, a coalition of people across Canada who have family members who have died from drug-related harms.

Her son, Danny, died after an accidental overdose in 2014, and she’s since become an advocate for harm-reduction strategies, including supervised consumption sites.

“For those of us who watch it and have been through it, it’s almost traumatizing,” Schulz said.

“When you see the death toll mounting again and government standing in the way of what saves lives, it really throws you back deeply into your grief.”

Three Alberta supervised drug-use sites on hold as UCP government freezes funding

School of Public Health videos aim to tackle stigma around drug use

The Gateway, April 17, 2019

A joint project between three universities is sharing the stories of parents [including 3 members of MSTH] who have lost a child to drug use.

Released last month, the project is a joint research effort between the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health, the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary, and the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia. Part of the project includes videos of the parents they interviewed narrating letters they wrote to their child who died by substance use.

School of Public Health videos aim to tackle stigma around drug use

Video series turns stories of personal tragedy into potent call to action

By Brittany DeAngelis, UofC O'Brien Institute for Public Health, March 18

Phil Haug, Donna May, Kym Porter, and Petra Schulz are united in purpose. Each are parents of children who died either directly or indirectly because of drug use — and they say enough is enough.

These four parents are not alone. Every day, 11 Canadians die from causes related to using opioids, mainly overdoses, according to federal government data. And behind this alarming statistic are the friends, families, and communities left behind.

Today, researchers from the University of Calgary, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Alberta, along with advocacy groups from across Canada, launched the video series See the Lives, featuring bereaved parents who have become advocates — with a message that their children are more than just statistics, and that more needs to be done to prevent further deaths.

“We are really losing a generation,” says Petra Schulz, from Edmonton, who is featured in one of the four videos and whose son, Danny, died of an accidental overdose in 2014 when he was 25 years old.

Video series turns stories of personal tragedy into potent call to action

My son Danny: The truth about substance use, stigma and overdose

Petra Schulz, TEDxMacEwanU, March 5, 2019

Petra Schulz (faculty member, health and community studies at MacEwan University) never planned to be a harm reduction advocate, but her life changed forever on April 30, 2014 when she and her husband discovered their son Danny’s body on the bathroom floor of his apartment. When faced with what to say in his eulogy, they decided to tell the truth. In this heart-wrenching talk, Petra shares Danny’s story and the idea that people who use drugs are just like everyone else: people who deserve a chance to be safe and healthy, and to live without judgment or shame.

Opioid Stories - Addiction, Loss, Grief, and Stigma

By Holly Maller, Cassandra Woods, and Holly Ollenberger Jan 29, 2019

The opioid crisis has had a devastating effect on families throughout Canada, with 4-thousand people losing their lives in 2017. Opioid Stories is a multimedia website featuring a handful of the individuals who have experienced the epidemic firsthand, in one way or another.

The site focuses on the loved ones left behind when someone experiences an opioid related death. By sharing the stories of their loved one's addiction and eventual death, they hope to not only inform the audience about just how widespread this problem is, but they also hope to chip away at the stigma and misinformation surrounding addiction.

Opioid Stories - Addiction, Loss, Grief, and Stigma

Truth told: Petra Schulz

MacEwan University, JANUARY 9, 2019

Truth. The pursuit of this five-letter word is the responsibility of every post-secondary institution: to seek truths that are sometimes universal, often personal and occasionally just plain controversial.

It also happens to be the theme of a TEDxMacEwanU event on January 23, where MacEwan faculty members and alumni will explore truth in its many forms.

Petra Schulz never planned to be a harm reduction advocate, but her life changed forever on April 30, 2014 when she and her husband discovered their son Danny’s body on the bathroom floor of his apartment. He had injected what he believed to be “street oxycodone,” but what turned out to be a deadly dose of a then little-known drug called fentanyl. Since that day, she has been sharing her personal story and working to change the way we look at substance use.

Truth told: Petra Schulz

New doc Painkiller delves into B.C.'s opioid epidemic with nuance and compassion, finding possible solutions

Travis Lupick, Georgia Straight, November 23, 2018

Watch Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis, a thoughtful look at a health emergency that killed more than 4,000 people across Canada in 2017

Petra Schultz, a founding member of the B.C.-based group Moms Stop the Harm, recounts losing her son to an addiction to opioids in a new documentary that's screening in Vancouver on November 26, 2018.

New doc Painkiller delves into B.C.'s opioid epidemic with nuance and compassion, finding possible solutions

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TELUS Health presents: Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis A TELUS Health Originals documentary

Telus Health, November 22, 2018

Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis, a TELUS Health Originals documentary tells the human story behind the opioid epidemic affecting Canada. The documentary seeks to raise awareness and end the stigma of addiction by educating and informing viewers on what Fentanyl is and how it is affecting our country. Petra Schulz and MSTH are featured in this documentary.

TELUS Health presents: Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis A TELUS Health Originals documentary

The Crucial Role of Mothers in Reforming Drug Policy

Talking Drugs, November 20, 2018

Mothers in the UK, US, Canada, and beyond are advocating for drug policy reform; for many, their advocacy follows the death or incarceration of their child as a result of the drug war.

In Canada, a group of mothers - Leslie McBain, Petra Schulz and Lorna Thomas – developed a bond after each one of them lost a son because of the lack of public health support for people who use drugs. Two of the young men died of opioid overdoses, while one took his own life while struggling with cocaine use and mental health issues. The three mothers established an organisation, Moms Stop the Harm, which advocates for various harm reduction measures, including increased access to naloxone (a medication which reverses opioid overdoses), and “Good Samaritan” laws which legally protect individuals from prosecution if they call emergency services in the case of a drug overdose.

Marie Agioritis, a board member of Moms Stop the Harm who joined the group following the death of her son in 2015, said that “there was an instant connection. All of these like-minded women wanting to inspire change. It’s this web of women connecting with broken hearts.”

The Crucial Role of Mothers in Reforming Drug Policy

Moms united in grief and new purpose: to change how addiction is treated in Canada

The Globe and Mail, NOVEMBER 18, 2018

Leslie McBain, Petra Schulz and Lorna Thomas share a common, unwanted bond. Each of them has endured the pain of losing a son to drugs.

Ms. McBain, Ms. Schulz and Ms. Thomas are working to change that. In the early days, their grief engulfed them. Then, it gave way to anger and determination. If Canada had adequate programs in place to treat mental illness and addiction, the women say, perhaps their children would still be here.

Moms united in grief and new purpose: to change how addiction is treated in Canada

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Alberta opts out of national opioid study, highlighting gaps in overdose data

Globe and Mail, OCTOBER 5, 2018

Petra Schulz, co-founder of the advocacy group Moms Stop the Harm, said there was an air of frustration at an opioid conference in Edmonton during the first week of October as people have grown angry with the increasing number of fatalities due to overdose and government inaction, especially in Ontario where a new Progressive Conservative government has put a stop to opening new overdose-prevention sites.

While Ms. Schulz said Alberta has done a better job of collecting data in recent years, the province’s data don’t delve deep enough into what interactions people have with the health-care system before their deaths – the kind of questions being asked by the federal study.

Alberta opts out of national opioid study, highlighting gaps in overdose data

Time to talk about carrying naloxone in schools, parent advocates say

CBC News Edmonton, June 29, 2018

Edmonton schools should consider stocking naloxone kits to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, says a mother who lost her son to an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2014.  "It is medication, but I would compare it more to giving first aid," said Petra Schulz, founder of Moms Stop The Harm, a network for people who have lost loved ones to substance abuse.

Time to talk about carrying naloxone in schools, parent advocates say

Opioid crisis has turned grieving relatives into reform advocates

Andrea Woo, The Gobe and Mail, June 22, 2018

Nearly 4,000 Canadians died of opioid overdoses last year – a record high in a crisis that shows no signs of abating. The mounting deaths have turned ordinary citizens into vocal advocates for drug-policy reform; Grief has made way for action.

On Saturday, Moms Stop the Harm, a network of Canadian families who have lost loved ones to overdoses with members from coast to coast, will rally on the steps of the B.C. Legislature in Victoria. They are calling for the decriminalization of drug possession and consumption, as well as access to a safer, regulated source.

Opioid crisis has turned grieving relatives into reform advocates

Mothers across North America unite to combat opioid crisis through compassion and policy reform

PERRIN GRAUER, StarMetro Vancouver, May 7, 2018

Mothers from Canada, Mexico and the United States have joined forces ahead of Mother’s Day with the #listentomom campaign — an international rally for reform to drug laws they say are tearing North American families apart.

Mothers across North America unite to combat opioid crisis through compassion and policy reform