Advocates urge Alberta curriculum overhaul to include education on opioids

Advocates spurred by concerning rates of opioid overdoses among Alberta youth are urging the government to improve grade-school education on drug use.

“It’s more important than ever that students learn this,” said Amy Graves, president of Get Prescription Drugs off the Street Society.

On Tuesday, Graves and Petra Schulz, co-founder of advocacy group Moms Stop the Harm which launched after Schulz’s son died from a fentanyl overdose in 2014, sent a letter asking Alberta’s health and education ministers to address the issue.

The Alberta government is midway through a curriculum redesign, with the first phases set to roll out next year.

Advocates urge Alberta curriculum overhaul to include education on opioids

Ignite Change workshop discusses prevention, harm reduction and other responses to youth drug crisis

Madeleine Cummings, Edmonton Examiner Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Petra Schulz, whose 25-year-old son, Danny, died of a fentanyl overdose in 2014, argued that society should be focused on the “demand” side of the problem, instead of the “supply” side. She also advocated for removing the stigma that surrounds addiction and mental illness and reducing harm for people who choose to use drugs.

Ignite Change workshop discusses prevention, harm reduction and other responses to youth drug crisis

Consultations to begin on Calgary's first supervised consumption site

Calgary Herald, June 14, 2017

Petra Schulz was on hand to endorse the announcement on behalf of MSTH and all families who's loved ones could have been saved with timely harm reduction and treatment.

Petra Schulz, who lost her 25-year-old son, Danny, to a fentanyl overdose in 2014, said she’s pleased Calgary is moving in the direction of supervised consumption services. But she added that while the service is “very much needed,” she also wants to see different solutions for drug users outside the downtown.

“We need to bring rapid access to treatment wherever people are . . . so this is great, but we can’t stop here,” she said.

“We need to move out, and not just in the suburban communities, the cities, but there are many rural Albertans that are using drugs and that need help.”

Consultations to begin on Calgary's first supervised consumption site

'Our aim ... is to keep people alive': Alberta invests $30M to deal with opioid crisis

CBC News Edmonton, May 31, 2017

The Alberta government is setting up a 14-member commission with a $30-million budget to deal with the skyrocketing numbers of deaths caused by overdoses of fentanyl and other opioids.... people involved in the commission include Petra Schulz, an Edmonton mother whose son died of a fentanyl overdose in 2014, Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, the physician lead for the Aboriginal Health Program with Alberta Health Services, and Marliss Taylor, the registered nurse who is program manager for Streetworks in Edmonton.

'Our aim ... is to keep people alive': Alberta invests $30M to deal with opioid crisis

New commission to guide opioid emergency response

Alberta Health, May 31, 2017

The province has established a dedicated emergency commission to help ramp up Alberta’s ability to respond to the opioid crisis.

“I’m pleased that the family voice is being included on the commission. My son Danny died of an accidental overdose. I don’t want one more family to suffer such a tragic loss. Today’s announcement gives hope that lives will be saved.”

Petra Schulz, Moms Stop The Harm and member, Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission

New commission to guide opioid emergency response

Why did it take me 3 years to get my Naloxone kit?

It took me a long time to get my own kit, thankfully not for lack of access but because of the need to overcome my own feelings of guilt fur not having gone to Danny's house that night almost 3 years ago, and for not having known that naloxone existed. As a proponent of this live saving tool

I felt like a bit of a cheat not to have one. Well, I slayed another dragon in my grief process and am now the owner of a kit that I am proud to carry, but hope not to have reason to use. Do you have your own kit? Visit our resources page to find out where you can get your own kit.

Fentanyl is just the symptom. Who caused the crisis?

Petra Schulz, April 5, 2017

If you only read one article this month, make it this one please! Fentanyl is just the symptom, while the origin of the crisis has much do do with prescription practices and the lies the makers of Oxycontin used to make billions, while thousands have died. Our son Danny started opioids with prescription drugs he obtained on the illicit market, like many of his now dead peers. Others got the drugs from the Drs. with the same tragic outcome. But as it seems, some execs always find a way to make money, no matter what the "collateral damage is. I object if the "collateral damage" is my son or anyone child. Do you agree that Purdue pharma should be held accountable?

Hardline approach to drug use costing lives, advocates tell Edmonton crowd

Edmonton Journal, March 10, 2017

Petra Schulz said it is foolish to think teenagers and young adults are not going to get into drugs, so one of her main messages is to encourage anyone at risk to practice safe habits — including having a naloxone kit nearby to reverse the effects of an overdose.

She said decriminalization would also be a good starting point to begin changing attitudes around drug use, and to shift people out of the justice system and into health programs. “We’ve had 50 years of a war on drugs and the only thing we have to show for it is a mounting death toll,” she said.

Hardline approach to drug use costing lives, advocates tell Edmonton crowd

#LifeWontWait National Day of Action on the opioid crisis

Edmonton February 21, 2017

Petra Schulz' comments at the National Day of Action in Edmotnon

Moms Stop the Harm is standing in solidarity with AWARE and CAPUD because we know, that lives wont wait. Our group has grown to almost 100 in less than a year and most of us either mourn the loss of a loved one, or have who is seeking recovery or both. We are only the tip of the iceberg, as thousands of Canadian families have lost loved ones to drug policies that consider our children to be dispensable.

Every time a new mom/dad/sister/brother of spouse joins us, it is a story of sadness and despair. Lives lost and the lives of those who mourn irrevocably changed. I feel a sense of urgency and panic with every family. I know it does not have to bee this way. The solutions are readily available. They range of simple and affordable harm reduction options.

The improved access to Naloxone is great and has saved many lives, why do people need to overdose in the first place? Why do people need to buy dangerous drugs on the street?
On the news we may hear about people being buried in an avalanche. Do we stand on that pile of snow and say, “Hey buddy, you made some bad choices, dig yourself out’? But that is exactly what we do with people who use drugs, without looking at the underlying issues, the trauma or mental health issues.”

We need access to safer substances for use and for treatment and we need supervised consumption services in cities, small towns, reserves and in jails. We need to teach young people how to stay safe because there are always people who use drugs. Primarily, we need to end a failed war on drugs that criminalizes those in need or care and support.

It has cost too many lives, and as a mom who will never her hug and hold her youngest child again, I tell you that Lives Wont Wait and neither will we.

Reducing Harm

MacEwan News, February 10, 2017

Petra Schulz, a MacEwan University faculty member, never planned to be a harm reduction advocate. “I too was once a soccer mom,” she told a standing-room-only audience in the Kule Theatre.

In an effort to expand awareness across the university and to create dialogue, Petra proposed a panel discussion, hosted by the Faculty of Nursing and the Faculty of Health and Community Studies, that brought together experts from a range of backgrounds—health-care providers, community members, educators, academics and people who use drugs—to share their perspectives.

Reducing Harm

Opioid Symposium MacEwan University

MacEwan University, February 6, 2017

This panel presentation discussed the current opioid health crisis that has cost hundreds of lives across the country, and explained the concept of harm reduction and provided information about the harm reduction initiatives currently underway in Edmonton.

Opioid Symposium MacEwan University

The following media reports resulted from the opioid forum:

MacEwan University panel conference to tackle ongoing opioid crisis
Edmonton Journal, February 6, 2017

Battle against fentanyl must include input from drug users, says former addict
CBC News Edmonton, February 6, 2-16

Alberta government announcing new strategy to battle opioid epidemic
Global News Edmonton, February 7, 2014

Opioid numbers needed immediately: Edmonton advocate
Metro News Edmonton, February 7, 2017