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

Health Canada's prescription opioid stickers and leaflets get a qualified welcome

Prescription opioids will come with a warning sticker and handout as industry regulations change
 
CBC News, May 4, 2018

Petra Schulz, co-founder of Moms Stop The Harm, a coalition of Canadian mothers who have children affected by addiction, applauded the warning stickers and information handout, but said she'd like an extra step: a sheet highlighting how to respond to overdoses to help save lives.
Part of the problem is that first aid courses don't show you what an overdose looks like, Schulz said.

"So many times I hear, 'I thought he was sleeping it off. He was snoring. She was sleeping," said Schulz, who lost her 25-year-old son Danny to a fentanyl overdose in 2014. "If you don't get the information in the hands of people, you're leaving them at risk."

Too many loved ones are started on an opioid prescription without being aware of the harms the drugs can caused if not used correctly, Schulz said. What's more, every individual responds differently. An opioid overdose suppresses breathing, and the longer the brain lacks adequate oxygen, the greater the risk of suffering damage. 

Health Canada's prescription opioid stickers and leaflets get a qualified welcome

Ottawa to implement warning stickers on prescription opioids

Andrea, Woo, Globe and Mail & Mail 4, 2016

Petra Schulz lost her adult son to a fentanyl overdose in 2014 and has since become a vocal drug-policy and harm-reduction advocate with the group Moms Stop the Harm. She said the group fully supports the warning sticker and informational handout, but feels that not including a separate sheet providing more details on overdoses and naloxone − a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose − is a missed opportunity.

The group is also of the position that people who are prescribed high potency opioids such as oxycodone and hydromorphone should be offered naloxone kits at the same time. Ms. Schulz noted that first-time opioid users may not be aware of the risks of mixing medications, seniors may be confused about dosage and some might not store their medications properly, leading to diversion – all of which present overdose risks.

“Many of these situations can lead to an overdose event where a naloxone kit is essential to reverse the effect the opioid has,” she said. “Having the kit also offers an educational opportunity, highlights the serious risks these drugs present and increases overall naloxone distribution in the population.”

Ottawa to implement warning stickers on prescription opioids

Health Canada's prescription opioid stickers will warn of addiction risk - Bright yellow warning sticker says opioid medication can cause dependence, addiction and overdose

CBC News May 02, 2018

Moms Stop The Harm, a network of Canadian mothers and families whose loved ones have died due to substance use or hope for recovery, supports the new warning sticker and patient handout. But they also see a missed opportunity. 
Petra Schulz of Edmonton called for a separate, highlighted information sheet to move beyond signs and symptoms of an overdose to share vital information on how to respond. 
"This is like basic first aid and should be available to all," Schulz said. 
Schulz also believes naloxone kits should be dispensed with potent opioids such as oxycodone and hydromorphone to save lives.

Health Canada's prescription opioid stickers will warn of addiction risk - Bright yellow warning sticker says opioid medication can cause dependence, addiction and overdose

New support for parents whose children died from substance use

The Squamish Chief, April 9, 2018

In 2016, bereaved mother Petra Schulz co-founded the online group Moms Stop The Harm (www.momsstoptheharm.com) that both Buckley and Hannah belong to. The group also has a closed Facebook page.

Schulz lost her youngest child Danny, 25, to an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2014.
Her son had been in recovery leading up to his death, but relapsed and died.

That is one thing people should know,” she said. “When you try to lose weight, or you exercise more, we all have days when we eat that extra piece of pie, or we turn the alarm clock off instead of going to the gym — but that doesn’t end deadly.”

Having a relapse doesn’t have to be the end of the world, but it can be if there is no one with the drug user to save them when they overdose.

New support for parents whose children died from substance use

The escalating toll: 2017 set to be worst year in Canada for overdoses

Andrea Woo, The Globe and Mail, March 28, 2018

“But the greatest barrier to [reducing] stigma,” Ms. Schulz said in an interview, “is the criminalization of substance use. And until we make the difficult and maybe not politically popular decision with some sectors of society [to decriminalize personal possession], it’s really hard to get people to come out and seek help. It’s hard to seek help for something that is considered a criminal act.”

The escalating toll: 2017 set to be worst year in Canada for overdoses

Edmonton supervised consumption site opening at Royal Alexandra Hospital April 2

Global News Edmonton, March 27, 2918

"As mothers and families, we want to keep our loved ones alive and as healthy as possible until they can arrive at a place in their lives where treatment works for them. This supervised consumption site will help us achieve that outcome.

“These services are about keeping people alive and building relationships,” Schulz said. “Within the hospital setting, health professionals can reach out to individuals who might otherwise not seek help, and connect them with harm reduction, treatment and social services.”

Edmonton supervised consumption site opening at Royal Alexandra Hospital April 2

First Supervised consumption site to open in Edmonton

March 22, 2018

A group of stakeholders, including MSTH has worked for several years to seek approval and funding for a distributed SCS model in Edmonton's inner city, housed with agencies that already provide health and harm reduction services. Petra Schulz was part of the team that gave over 55 presentations to various levels of government, community stakeholders and interest groups.

The media coverage below covers the opening of the first locaiton, in Boyle Street Community Services.

First supervised consumption site to open in Edmonton Friday
Metro News Edmonton, March 22, 2018

Edmonton’s first safe injection location set to open
Global News Edmonton, March 22, 2018

Edmonton's first supervised drug consumption site unveiled
Edmonton Journal, March 23, 2018

Royal Alex debuts supervised consumption service
Alberta Health Services April 3, 2018

Decriminalization won't be part of opioid fight, PM tells Edmonton town hall

CBC Edmonton News, February 1, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will not decriminalize possession of opioids to help fight a national overdose crisis that has killed thousands of Canadians. Trudeau was asked about the issue during a town hall at MacEwan University in Edmonton Thursday by Petra Schulz, who lost her 25-year-old son Danny to a fentanyl overdose in 2014.

"Can you commit to a national strategy and a significant investment that is equal to what was spent on H1N1, for example, on a per-patient, per-person basis?" Schulz asked. "And will you commit to exploring decriminalization as one way to make sure we see substance use as a health issue and not a criminal matter?

Decriminalization won't be part of opioid fight, PM tells Edmonton town hall

Edmontonians gear up to challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at town hall

Metro Edmonton, January 31, 2018

Edmontonians will line up at MacEwan University Thursday in hopes of face time with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Moms Stop the Harm, a group of parents who have lost children to drug overdoses, plans to have 10-15 members at the town hall to challenge the PM on the opioid crisis.

“It’s very upsetting for us how silent he has been on this issue,” said group member Petra Schulz. “There are thousands of Canadian families like ours that are mourning the loss of a loved one, and the prime minister has not even spoken on the issue in the house.”

Edmontonians gear up to challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at town hall

2018-02-01 Metro News.jpg

Naloxone kits distributed by Alberta Health Services may not contain naloxone

CBC Edmonton January 18, 2018.

Alberta Health Services is warning that some of the naloxone kits distributed to Albertans may be missing a key ingredient: the naloxone.

The kits, which were ordered and distributed through a third-party company, may be missing vials of the drug which is used to reverse opioid overdoses.

Four years ago, Petra Schulz lost her 25-year-old son to a fentanyl overdose. After his death, she co-founded Moms Stop the Harm, a national network of mothers working to end the fentanyl crisis.

She was distraught when she heard the health authority's naloxone kits might not contain vials of the life-saving medication.

"I did not believe this was possible," she told CBC News. "It is very scary. I hope nobody died as a result of this."

Naloxone kits distributed by Alberta Health Services may not contain naloxone

Families slam what they call Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lack of response to opioid crisis

Global News Edmonton November 28, 2017

A network of Canadian families, whose loved ones have died due to substance use, has sent hundreds of photos and stories to the prime minister’s office in hopes of invoking an emotional response to the opioid crisis.

By sending the photos, Moms Stop the Harm was hoping to put a face to the significant number of people who have died in Canada as a result of the opioid crisis. “I don’t know if he cares about our children,” the project’s co-founder, Petra Schulz, told Global News.

Families slam what they call Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lack of response to opioid crisis

Families mail photos of opioid victims to prime minister

Calgary Herald, November 16, 2017

Schulz, co-founder of advocacy group Moms Stop the Harm, is organizing a campaign to flood the prime minister’s office with hundreds of photographs of victims of the opioid crisis to mark National Addiction Awareness Week.

“We want him to shed a tear for our kids and we think these photos can do it,”

From left; Rosalind Davis, Petra Schulz, Leslie McBain and Donna May have all lost loved ones to the opioid crisis. On Tuesday they were joining hundreds of families across Canada sending photos of their loved ones with messages to the Prime Minister. The four gathered at an opioid conference as part of national addiction awareness week at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Calgary.

Families mail photos of opioid victims to prime minister

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Alberta group helps families affected by opioid crisis send photos of loved ones to prime minister

Metro News Calgary, November 14, 2017

Advocates and families affected by Canada's growing opioid crisis are launching a letter-writing campaign this week to pressure the federal government to take action – but instead of words, they’re using photographs to convey their message.

The 'Do Something Prime Minister Photo Campaign', organized by Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH) and the Alberta Foundation for Changing the Face of Addiction (AFCFA), is encouraging families to send photos of their loved ones who have died from opioid-related causes or who are seeking recovery from substance use to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office in Ottawa.

“We need to see leadership at the top, starting with our prime minister,” said Petra Schulz, a co-founder of MSTH.

Alberta group helps families affected by opioid crisis send photos of loved ones to prime minister

Alberta approves pilot programs for injectable opioid therapy

Edmonton Journal, November 2, 2017

Albertans who have struggled with traditional forms of opioid treatment such as suboxone and methadone could soon have access to an injectable form of therapy.

These are recommendations from the Ministers Opioid Emergency Response Commission that Petra Schulz is a member of.

Alberta approves pilot programs for injectable opioid therapy

Tuesday's letters: MP misses point of safe injection sites

Edmonton Journal October 31, 2017

Supervised consumption services (SCS) primarily save lives, and anyone who has lost a loved one can tell you how important that is. We need to reduce stigma, provide good drug safety information and bring harm reduction, including needle exchanges, Naloxone distribution and opioid dependency treatment, closer to them in primary care. How we can make this happen should have been the topic of discussion.

Tuesday's letters: MP misses point of safe injection sites

Police warn more potentially lethal Halloween-stamped fentanyl blotters could be in Winnipeg

CBC News Manitoba, October 29, 2017

Petra Schulz, a co-founder of Moms Stop The Harm, said it's difficult for users to know the concentration of their drugs when they're packaged in blotters. "Every time when there are changes in the format of how something is presented, people are just at a much greater risk of overdose," she said.

Schulz said this type of packaging makes the drugs more attractive to users, especially for people "who haven't tried it out." Don't use drugs alone. Recognise the signs of an overdose. Carry Naloxone.

Police warn more potentially lethal Halloween-stamped fentanyl blotters could be in Winnipeg