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The surprising faces of B.C.'s opioid crisis

It could be a phone call from a hysterical relative, a knock on the door from the RCMP or the dreaded image of finding a loved one unresponsive.

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare and it’s a far too common reality in B.C. right now.

Pam’s son Ryan (Mar 22, 1983 – Feb 1, 2016)

Between January 1st and June 30th, 2017, there have been 780 recorded overdose deaths, which means the province is on pace for a year long total of more than 1,400.

This results in a lot of different things, including a group called Mom’s Stop the Harm, that no one wants to be a part of.

The group has members from all across the country, including moms, dads, spouses, siblings and grandparents of those who have died due to substance misuse.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Stephanie & Boyfriend Dustin (Apr 19, 1978 – Nov 20, 2016)

They’re dedicated to supporting each other, as well as remembering and honouring their lost loved ones and advocating for a change in the system.

Walking into a Mom’s Stop the Harm meeting, you’d be struck by the normalcy of these people that have all undergone incredible heartache, because it's a tragedy that could happened to anyone.

Arlene, a retired supervisor with Interior Health, lost her son Steve to a Fentanyl related overdose in January 2015.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Arlene’s son Steve (Oct 1, 1982 – Jan 31, 2015)

Pamela’s son Ryan died in February 2016 due to an accidental overdose of Fentanyl.

Stephanie, on the other hand, lost her boyfriend Dustin, also to Fentanyl, back in November 2016.

Helen is the face of the Mom’s Stop the Harm movement in Kelowna and she has lost not one, but two of her children to overdose deaths.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Helen’s son Rian (Mar 7, 1974 – Aug 21, 2011)

Finally, there’s Jill, who just lost her 27-year-old son Nick to an overdose back on March 27th, 2017.

“My heart aches and my brain stumbles as I try to make sense of what happened to this loving, intelligent 27-year-old who had so much to offer life,” she said.

Mom’s Stop the Harm is holding an International Overdose Awareness Day event in honour of those lost and in an attempt to raise awareness about death by overdose.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed</who>Helen’s son Tyler (Oct 3, 1975 – Jan 14, 2016)

There will be two events on Thursday, August 31st, with the first being educational speakers at the Evangel Church at 3261 Gordon Dr. from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The second event that day is a candlelight vigil by the sails downtown from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.

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