Thousands of high school students across the country will be able to access a 2019 TEDxMacEwan talk given by Petra Schulz, titled My Son Danny: The Truth About Substance Use, Stigma and Overdose, through Health Canada’s Know More national education and awareness tour.

In her heart-wrenching video, Schulz, who taught in the Faculty of Health and Community Studies, shares the story of losing her son Danny. She emphasizes that people who use drugs are just like everyone else and deserve the same chance to be safe and healthy and live without judgment or shame.

“I hope students will take away an understanding that substance use is something that can happen to anyone and that they see the importance of being open and seeking help,” says Schulz. “I also hope they get a sense of underlying conditions that contribute to substance use and that it is not due to bad personal choices.”

The TEDxMacEwanU video is part of a stigma gallery of stories highlighting real people and real experiences: people who use or have used drugs, their families and loved ones, and health professionals who work with them.

“The best way to talk about stigma and the best way to destigmatize the circumstances around people who use drugs is for people to hear their stories,” says Blossom Leung, a senior policy analyst with Health Canada’s Opioid Response Team. “Talking about what stigma is doesn’t change people’s minds. It’s personal stories that grow empathy."

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