Carina Stone has started a petition addressed to Dr. Bonnie Henry asking her to start announcing overdose deaths the same way COVID deaths are announced. (Provided by Carina Stone)

Wife of yogi who overdosed asks B.C.’s top doc to announce drug deaths like COVID fatalities

Carina Stone lost her husband Michael in 2017 to fentanyl poisoning

A Gulf Islands resident plans to petition Dr. Bonnie Henry to announce overdose deaths the same way COVID-19 deaths are reported publicly.

Carina Stone lost her husband, Michael Stone – a renowned teacher of yoga and Buddhism – to fentanyl poisoning in 2017 after he bought street drugs in Victoria, likely to self-medicate his bipolar disorder.

On a day around the first year anniversary of his death, she drove to the spot he had been found, next to the public library.

“I turned the corner and there was the response team to an overdose,” she says. “It was a middle-aged man, a fresh haircut, same profile as [Michael] the day he died – and he was seizing on a gurney, getting put into an ambulance. It’s everywhere.”

Stone says she feels privileged through her loss. Being able to speak publicly about Michael and his struggles with mental illness because he was a public figure, Stone says was healing for her.

RELATED: Victoria yogi dies of suspected drug overdose

“To not be confined by the stigma in my grieving process has been really important for me and really lucky and I think, unusual in the context of these kinds of losses.”

The petition, created on June 13, has garnered more than 1,300 signatures. Stone says the public is witnessing B.C. set an example through its response to the pandemic. Henry has been featured in publications across the world and singled out by The New York Times as the ‘doctor who aced the coronavirus test.’

“She’s someone who really, really cares in the most important kind of way,” says Stone, calling Henry an ally in the overdose crisis.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 contributes to spike in overdose deaths, experts say

In May, B.C. had 170 overdose deaths – the most in a single month since the crisis was declared in 2016.

“My husband was known, so when he died it was public and he wasn’t just one number,” says Stone. “I feel like the opposite happens with most of these losses because the ones that aren’t public figures – [their deaths] are quiet and they’re not only just one number but they’re a lump sum.”

The number of overdose deaths is released a few times a year, but Stone wonders if there is a way to shift the way we monitor the situation to something more similar to the way COVID-19 deaths are released.

In the petition, Stone states that she was “struck” by the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“How it’s been managed, for one, but also our public process of grieving the deaths, reaching our hearts out to families who’ve lost loved ones. Each death is accounted for publicly in a press conference, each number is cause for alarm, process, response. Just a number, but learning in “real-time” is humanizing,” Stone writes.

Black Press Media has reached out to the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

To sign the petition visit tinyurl.com/y9tfcexh.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. overdosesCoronavirusoverdose crisis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

United Way Southern Interior and local partners announce Sustainable Recovery Grant Recipients

The 2020 recipients will receive one-time grant funding for customized coaching and support

Tourism Golden targets closer markets during COVID-19

Tourism Golden is looking to market people from the coast of BC and Canadians this summer

RCMP identify dangerous driver from near head-on collision by Golden

Police say the extremely dangerous and illegal maneuver put multiple lives at risk

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Separate trials set for 2018 Kelowna Canada Day killing

Four people have been charged with manslaughter in relation to Esa Carriere’s death, including two youths

Kootnekoff: New workplace harassment and violence requirements

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years.

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Summerland Museum to hold walking tours

Community’s past will be explained during series of summer tours

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation following racist vandalism

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm likely linked to Kelowna outbreak, says Interior Health

A team of doctors, nurses and health investigators are at the Krazy Cherry Farm to test employees

Most Read