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Daniel (Danny) Schulz, 25
By Rick and Petra Schulz, with excerpt of the Lives Lived Column published the Globe and Mail on July 3, 2014.

Chef, musician, friend, lover of great food and wine. Born on Jan. 13, 1989, in Edmonton; died on April 30, 2014, in Edmonton, after suffering a relapse on the road to recovery from addiction, aged 25.

Danny Schulz was born on a cold winter day, one that did not foretell the warmth that he would bring to all who knew him. As the youngest of three children, he had to learn to make his place in the family. His parents first got the idea that he was a bit different when, asked what he would like for his third birthday, he replied, “A cactus.”

Danny’s big heart made him sensitive, both to people and to the world around him. It was this sensitivity that made him so creative. He learned to play guitar, both acoustic and electric, and drums; to write lyrics; and later, much to the surprise of his family, to sing beautifully. He often provided vocals in jam sessions with his friends, one of his favourite pastimes.

While in high school in Edmonton, he came out. Of course, his brothers and friends knew long before his parents were told. But even with an accepting family, being gay means facing adversity.

Around the same time, Danny discovered a passion for cooking and began working in restaurants. He was inspired and encouraged by the talented chefs with whom he worked, and in 2011 graduated with a diploma in culinary arts from the Art Institute of Vancouver. Danny had an uncanny ability to come into a kitchen, take whatever was in the fridge, and make a superb, original, tasty meal – although leftovers were guaranteed, as he could only cook in restaurant quantities.

Danny struggled with anxiety and depression, but his parents only three years before his death about his addiction to opiates. Although unwarranted, the guilt he felt about hurting his family and friends was in conflict with his good nature and compassion for others. He sought and received counselling and support at many levels, especially from his family.

He worked hard to sort out his life and made many very positive inroads, at times two steps forward, at others one step back. In the months before his death, Danny worked full time at one of the best restaurants in Edmonton, re-established close ties with his supportive friends; and moved into his own apartment.

Danny was in recovery but relapsed just when the highly toxic Fentanyl was appearing on the street scene. He bought one more pill, not know that it was Fentanyl, and did not stand a chance. He did not want to leave any of us, nor did he want to hurt anyone.

Danny died because he and his family did not know or have access to harm reduction measure and to evidence based treatment that could have kept him alive.

CTV Alberta Prime Time, September 15, 2016

Petra Schulz shares the story her son Danny's struggle with substance use and how she has translated her personal loss into advocacy with the MSTH mothers. In part 2 of this video, Dr. David Swann explains how only a comprehensive harm reduction approach will help abate the overdose crisis.

A Public Health Emergency