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

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abby Senior grad established new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Craft brewery near Abbotsford Centre gets OK from council

No objections to Canuck Empire Brewery’s plans for site near University of the Fraser Valley

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Most Read