Pubdate: Fri, 14 Aug 2015
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2015 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Petra Schulz
Page: A22


Re: "Gangs cashing in on fentanyl in West," Aug. 8

Your excellent article sheds new light on this issue, which has 
become a public health crisis.

What was not mentioned is that an opportunity to offer treatment to 
those addicted to OxyContin was missed when it was reformulated and 
made harder to smoke or inject. Rather than offer solutions, we 
created a vacuum and allowed criminal gangs to fill the void. Another 
concern is that the purchase of a pill press, needed to make drugs 
such as fake OxyContin, does not need to be registered in Canada, 
while this is a requirement in the U.S. - a small change that could 
help law enforcement.

I am passionate about this issue since we lost our youngest son Danny 
to an accidental overdose last year. He was on the road to recovery, 
but had a relapse and bought one more pill which he thought to be 
OxyContin, but turned out to be fentanyl. Since then, family and 
friends have struggled to come to terms with the loss of a 
wonderfully creative and loving young man. (His story was featured in 
your paper in January.)

In the past year, I have been spreading the news about the dangers of 
fentanyl. I've also been lobbying for a change in drug policies to 
focus on reducing harm and keeping people safe until they can be 
successfully treated, rather than punished.

I am part of mumsDU, a coalition of Canadian mothers who have lost 
children to overdoses. We want to see safe consumption, medication 
that can reverse the effect of overdoses, and treatment available 
coast to coast. The rising number of fentanyl deaths shows the war on 
drugs does not work and that we must shift our focus from ineffective 
strategies to reduce supply to proven strategies to reduce demand.

Petra Schulz, Edmonton
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom