Pubdate: Tue, 13 Sep 2016
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Jeremy Simes
Page: 3


Disappointment after province won't call state of emergency

Rosalind Davis and her spouse Nathan Huggins-Rosenthal planned to
start a family, but she believes his addiction to fentanyl became the
cause of his death.

Davis was dismayed to learn last week that the government won't enact
a public health state of emergency over the fentanyl crisis, after
Alberta Liberal leader Dr. David Swann expressed the need for an emergency.

"I think we're really disappointed because it speaks volumes of
ignorance to the lack of education around drugs and addictions
issues," said Davis, who has launched the Alberta Foundation of
Changing the Face of Addiction, a not-for-profit that aims to educate
Albertans on drugs and addictions issues, with Nathan's sister,
Jessica Holtsbaum.

"We want to push for political change," she said. "We want to inform
people of how if we change these things, it can benefit all of society."

Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne said a public health emergency
over the addictions crisis is unwarranted as it gives government
"extraordinary powers" that are unnecessary, and would be more
effective if there was an outbreak of a highly communicable disease.

 From Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year, there were 153 people in Alberta
who died from apparent drug overdoses related to fentanyl, a 10 per
cent increase from 139 deaths that were reported during January to
June of 2015.

Nathan died in February and Davis continues to wait for his cause of
death report from the coroner's office. He was a witty and charming
stockbroker with a Master in Business Administration, Davis said.

"At first we thought the problem was manageable: Just don't do drugs,"
she said. "This was the conventional thinking."

Davis quickly learned his addiction was more complex, but said Nathan
had to wait four months before being admitted to a treatment program.

"After that four months, he wasn't the man I recognized anymore," she
said, adding he overdosed weeks later after returning from the
Claresholm Centre for Mental Health and Addictions.

"Because of shame, he told everyone it was pneumonia, and we believed
him because we believed treatment programs worked," she said.
"Two-and-a-half months later, he was dead."

She said Nathan's story inspired her to launch the

"No one chooses to be an addict," she said. "But believing addiction
is a choice absolves society of any responsibility. When we shame
people of addictions, we push them into the shadows.

"Once we became educated ourselves, I think the awareness of how
little society knows or understands addictions became so obvious to
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