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

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Tech mogul looks to grow Vernon’s presence in Okanagan wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in the city hillsides

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Car show a hit at Vernon retirement resort

GALLERY: No drooling over the classic cruisers parked at Parkwood Retirement Resort

GALLERY: Vernon painter captures beauty of Davison Orchards in new series

In a new painting, card series, artist Patricia Lawton was inspired by resident dog, Harlow

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Local state of emergency declared near Okanagan home

Slope failure cited as City of Penticton issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Therapeutic art for sale at Okanagan show

17th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale presented by Vernon Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Shuswap restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

Most Read