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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Aces aplenty at Vernon Golf Club

Local track has 14 recorded holes-in-one since April 30

Sad ending in case of missing Vernon senior

Body of Wayne Orser found floating in Okanagan Lake Tuesday, July 7

Vernon murder case back in court

Voir dire held for one of two accused in death of William Bartz in July 2017

North Okanagan district shifts attention to wildfire season

FireSmart, Grab-and-Go Bags and emergency planning among tips for wildfire preparedness

Vernon police deem car fire ‘suspicious’

A vehicle was fully involved last night on 24th Avenue, cause still unknown

84-year-old Okanagan resident finishes 12,000-piece puzzle

Willie Tribiger started the puzzle in 2013, completing it in six and a half years

LETTER: Keep your pooch on a leash

Hey there “responsible dog owner.” I would just like to say thank… Continue reading

LETTER: the cheapest and easiest way to save lives

We are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of a Coronavirus vaccine. So… Continue reading

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Booze on beach extended through summer in Penticton

Pilot project will stay in place until Oct. 15

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Most Read