Alberta 'at best holding steady' against deadly fentanyl crisis, justice minister warns

CBC News Oct 17, 2016

Conference for police, justice and health-care workers gets underway in Calgary

MSTH Petra Schulz was one of the speakers at a Fentanyl conference for police and first responders in Calgary and Edmonton, speaking to more than 700 delegates about the importance of changing from a criminal justice to a human rights and health approach.

Alberta 'at best holding steady' against deadly fentanyl crisis, justice minister warns

Carfentanil, a drug 100X more powerful than fentanyl, confirmed in deaths of 2 Albertans

Global News, October 8, 2016

After the discovery of Carfentanil in Alberta Petra Schulz was asked to comment. She points out that we have to shift our focus from specific drugs to proven harm reduction measures that help those who are struggling with substance use.

Carfentanil, a drug 100X more powerful than fentanyl, confirmed in deaths of 2 Albertans

Fentanyl epidemic a public health crisis

Re. “Swann urges province to declare public health emergency over fentanyl,” 

Edmonton Journal, Letter to the Editor, Sept. 8

We lost our son Danny (age 25) to an overdose in 2014, and I strongly support Dr. David Swann’s call for the declaration of a public health emergency over the number of overdose deaths in this province.

Getting accurate real time numbers and being able to respond rapidly to the crisis is one of the reasons the province of B.C. declared a public health emergency in April.

This is not about giving special powers to police, as the Alberta’s Associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne states, but about allowing for flexible and innovative strategies to save lives.

What would we do if we had this number of deaths for any other condition? We need to know the facts and we need the province to invest strategically in harm reduction initiatives, such as opioid replacement programs and supervised injection sites.

Harm reduction initiatives give people a chance to make a better decision on another day. Dead people never recover and we need to give our kids a fighting chance.

Petra Schulz, Edmonton

Petra's speech from the International Overdose Awareness Day in Edmonton August 31, 2016

International Overdose Awareness Day Edmonton, August 31, 2016

Last year in Alberta we had the equivalent of a jet plane crash in overdose deaths from fentanyl alone.  It did not crash all at once, but silently and steadily in back alleys in the inner city, in the bathrooms of suburban malls, in prison cells and in our homes.

Since our son Danny died from an accidental overdose in 2014 the numbers have more than doubled, 272 in 2015, and all indications are that it will continue to get worse from here.

At the time we lost Danny, there was no discussion, few warnings, and little response from the health system. Thankfully this has changed and I applaud measures that have been put in place, such as provincial and federal initiatives to make the overdose antidote Naloxone available to those in need.

Naloxone has saved countless lives, and without it the numbers would be far greater. I hope that in the near future we will see further expanded harm reduction services that include medically supervised injection in this city and across the country.

Unfortunately, we waited too long to respond and what we are doing now is like having a cancer patient at stage 3 before we start treatment. If we do not want the death toll to double again, we have to get out of crisis mode.

What is needed is instead is a comprehensive strategy that includes prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement. Currently in Canada 90% of all funding is spent on reducing the supply of drugs, the enforcement part, and only 10% on reducing the demand - the other 3 essential areas – prevention, treatment and harm reduction.  This is not working, as law enforcement struggles to keep up with enterprising criminal gangs that don’t care if a customer ends up dead.

We have waged a war on drugs for 50 years and it has translated into a war on our children. What do we have to show for? Billions have been spent globally on this war without measurable results, other than a mounting death toll. Harm reduction on the other hand is inexpensive and is proven to save lives. From a parent's perspective harm reduction is simple: "Keeping them alive so they can make a better decision on another day".

We need to focus our efforts on keeping and making people well rather than locking them up. We need to make sure the dealers have fewer customers.

Our family will continue live with the pain caused by the death of our youngest child, as do so many other families. As a society we are losing people in the prime of their lives to a cause that is so preventable.

International Overdose Awareness day is an opportunity to state publicly that the lives of our children mattered and that the continued loss of life to an overdose is not acceptable.

Alberta families of those killed by illegal drugs call for preventive action to stem growing number of deaths

Edmonton Journal, August 31, 2016

As people, including MSTH supporters Amy Graves, Lowell Calahasen-Evans and Rick Schulz clutched candles and framed photos of loved ones Wednesday to mark International Overdose Awareness Day at the Alberta legislature, newly released provincial statistics show fentanyl-related fatalities are on the rise. MSTH Petra Schulz spoke at the event and demanded an invest in harm reduction and an end to the war on drugs.

Alberta families of those killed by illegal drugs call for preventive action to stem growing number of deaths

W-18 warning comes too late, mother of fentanyl OD victim says


Petra was interviewed by the CBC Edmonton about the seizure of the deadly drug W-18. She stated that the province needs to do more to help drug users. "....opioid replacement therapies with methadone or naloxone are very effective," Schulz said. "They're not very expensive, but yet in Alberta we have so few sites, so few prescribing doctors and such long waiting lists. "If we'd ramp that up, it would go a long way and it would go to reduce the demand for these drugs."

CBC News Posted: Apr 22, 2016 10:47 AM MT

W-18 warning comes too late, mother of fentanyl OD victim says

mumsDU heading to UN Assembly on Drugs in NYC


Petra and Donna were interviewed about the role of mumsDU at UNGASS and the message the delegation (Donna, Leslie, Lorna, Jennifer) will take to NYC.  End the failed war on drugs, and focus on  peaceful alternatives, including legal control and regulation that put families and their health and safety first.

The Ryan Jesperson Show on 630 Ched, Chorus Entertainment
April 14, 2016

mumsDU heading to UN Assembly on Drugs in NYC

Alberta doctor suggests province use methadone for Fentanyl strategy

Alberta is increasing access to Naloxone to prevent fentanyl-related deaths, but the addictions specialist Hakique Virani explains methadone is just as important to treat addiction to fentanyl and other opioids.  Petra was interviewed as part of this news report to explain Danny's experience with Methadone.

Alberta doctor suggests province use methadone for Fentanyl strategy

Rules relaxed for pharmacy sale of life-saving overdose antidote

“It is wonderful news,” said Petra Schulz, a Mayne Island mother whose 25-year-old son died last April after taking what she believes was one fentanyl pill.  In the past, only the user him- or herself could get the prescription, so parents had to lie and say that they themselves are users to get the life-saving kit,” said Schulz, a co-founder of mumsDU — Moms United and Mandated to Saving the lives of Drug Users.

Rules relaxed for pharmacy sale of life-saving overdose antidote