Pubdate: Tue, 01 Sep 2015
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2015 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Otiena Ellwand
Page: A4


Son Died of Fentanyl Overdose

Clutching a framed photograph of her son, Petra Schulz made a 
passionate plea before nearly 100 people about the need for policy 
change on all levels to deal with the fentanyl epidemic in Alberta.

Schulz was one of six speakers Monday at the annual International 
Overdose Awareness Day on the steps of City Hall. Schulz's 
25-year-old son Danny Schulz died from an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2014.

While the provincial government has spearheaded a one-year pilot 
program to provide take-home naloxone kits to Albertans who are at 
high risk of opioid overdose, Schulz said the lifesaving kits need to 
be more widely available and should be available to people without a 
prescription, such as a parent who has a child with an addiction. 
Already there have been 600 emergency department visits related to 
opioid overdoses in Edmonton this year.

Edmonton should explore opening a supervised consumption site, such 
as Insite in Vancouver, Schulz said. The supervised drug injection 
site connects users to vital health care, counselling and addictions services.

"Our family has had the hardest task ever - learning to live without 
Danny," Schulz said.

But instead of hiding what happened to him, the family has chosen to 
speak out to reverse the stigma around drug users. She is one of the 
founding members of Moms United and Mandated to Saving the lives of 
Drug Users, or mumsDU, which aims to rehumanize people who are 
addicted to drugs.

Honouring the lives of those who've died from drug overdoses and 
recognizing it as a preventable tragedy was the purpose of Monday's 
event, said Mat Wong, Streetworks' lead nurse for the overdose 
prevention program.

During a moment of silence, clusters of people lit candles and bowed 
their heads in the sunlight, remembering those who've died from drug overdoses.

"It's unbearable, it's hidden, it's heartbreaking," Wong said. "Every 
life is extremely valuable."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom