An emotional demonstration for International Overdose Awareness Day in downtown Kelowna drew a somber crowd.
The event was organized by Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH) Kelowna, a group of parents who have been impacted by the toxic drug supply.
Robin Lukash became involved with the group after her son, David, died of a drug poisoning.
She said that she considers his death a poisoning because he thought that he was taking cocaine, but the substance was laced with fentanyl. She said without testing, many people who use illicit substances are not confident that what they purchased is what they have received.
“(People) should be able to go to the pharmacy… and be able to get what they need.”
People with substance use disorders may not always be ready to seek help or stop using. It is important to have supports in place that are available anytime people are ready to seek help.
She advocates for prescribed safe supply, so that people can “stop the pain enough that they can get help.”
Lukash said that programs like safe supply coupled with additional social supports are an important step in combating the toxic drug supply.
“We need to keep people alive long enough for them to get the help that they need.”
She urges people to have open discussions and share stories about how overdose has impacted their life. Lukash wants to bring the issue out of the dark.
“Talk to your kids, talk to your friends, don’t use alone, use naloxone, and have your voices heard that this is a big issue.”