Families of overdose victims hope to catch Prime Minister's attention

By Jill Sperling
November 16, 2017 - 3:31pm Updated: November 16, 2017 - 6:31pm

KAMLOOPS — The office of the Prime Minister will be receiving plenty of mail in the days to come, as families of overdose victims send pictures of their loved ones. 

The campaign, which began Monday, was created by Moms Stop the Harm, a network of Canadian families who have lost family members to substance use. 

Kamloops woman Sandra Tully lost her son Ryan Pinneo in January 2016. He took an OxyContin pill, unaware it was laced with fentanyl. 

Tully says sending photographs to the Prime Minister is a simple way for family members to make an impact. 

"We've asked everyone to write the birth date and the passing date, what the cause of death was," Tully said. "I no longer refer to Ryan's death as an overdose, I refer to it as a fentanyl poisoning, because truly that's what it was. Language really matters when we're talking about this crisis, so we need to get that right as well. And I wrote on my photo descriptive words of Ryan, of how I felt about Ryan, and then I wrote, 'how many more deaths does it take?'" 

Tully is hoping to flood Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office with the photographs. 

She wished to see drug use decriminalized, following the Portugal model. 

She says there is also a need for more funding and services for drug addicts. 

"Nothing has changed in 22 months since Ryan passed," Tully said. "We don't have anything, still. We don't have a place that we could detox or rehab anymore than we did 22 months ago. So, there's a lot of talk, we have a lot of naloxone kits, which is really great, and that was one of the things that we really pushed for in those early days, but now we still need to do more."

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