Trudeau getting hundreds of photos from Interior moms whose children died from overdoses | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Trudeau getting hundreds of photos from Interior moms whose children died from overdoses

Moms who have lost kids to overdose have been mailing photos to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of a new project called Somebody's Someone.
Image Credit: Submitted
November 17, 2017 - 5:00 PM

Hundreds of black-bordered envelopes adorned with purple hearts were sent to the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week from moms hurt by overdose deaths.

Inside the envelopes are photos of family members who have died since the start of the opioid crisis. It’s called the Somebody’s Someone project.

Helen Jennens of Kelowna is the founding member of Moms Stop the Harm. She sent an envelope with two photos in it. 

Both her sons, Tyler and Rian, died from accidental overdoses and she has been on a personal crusade to raise awareness of what she believes is a national crisis.

“All we want to do is bring attention to the Prime Minister about the number of overdose deaths,” she says. “We take photos of children and on the back write their name, who they are to us, their date of birth, their date of death, how they died and anything else that’s important.”

There were more than 1,100 overdose deaths in B.C. in the first nine months of this year, but Jennens says statistics aren’t enough.

“We know that some of the most impactful stuff we do is in photo work,” she says. “You see the faces of these kids, some of them still have braces on their teeth. They’re babies.”

Jennens says at least 500 letters are on their way to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, many from the Thompson-Okanagan.

“We want him to feel what we’re feeling, our pain and our frustration,” she says. “Every day waking up to another death, another child, or husband or father or brother dying.

“We need the Prime Minister’s eyes on the opioid crisis and we need him to lead his country out of this crisis by funding and strategizing.”

While the aim of the photo project is to give faces to the numbers, Moms Stop the Harm eventually want to see some major changes, including declaring a national state of emergency as well as an eventual decriminalization of all illicit drugs. 

Medical health professionals behind the scenes have been speaking candidly to each other about fentanyl and the increasing number of deaths by overdose in the province — some are pointing fingers at the enhanced prohibition of opiates.

“How many deaths is it going to take,” Jennens asks. “We want this to have the same impact on Ottawa as it’s having on the rest of the country.”

— This story was updated at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 to clarify the photos sent to the Prime Minister are of family members of all genders.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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