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