It’s going to be an emotion-filled International Overdose Awareness Day for Darlana Treloar.

She lost her 27-year-old son, Sean, to fentanyl poisoning on May 6th, 2016.

Since then, Treloar has dedicated herself to education and awareness, about a toxic drug poisoning crisis that has been pushed to the backburner by COVID and climate change.

“It should be pushed to the forefront,” she said. “All these things are really important but the overdose crisis has been going on for five years, now and we’ve lost 22,000 Canadians, and they’re all young.”

Treloar works at Powell River’s overdose prevention site and says safe supply is one of the answers.

“Safe supply needs to happen because there is nothing out there that is safe anymore,” she explained. 

Treloar said the whole month of August is really hard for her. “The whole month of August, we cry a lot, because we’ve reached out to so many different people and hear so many different stories, and it’s continuing, and it really makes me sad that our pandemic has been pushed to the background because people are dying, and they’re all young. It’s got to stop. I’ve said this before. We need help.”

She added that government help can come in many forms: “We need all of it. Alongside our harm reduction, our overdose prevention sites, our safe supply, decriminalizing, we need treatment centres that are rapid access. People need to go right away. There needs to be more, and I would love to see the government to be funding those treatment centres.”

She added that erasing the stigma is a key step. “Nice people use drugs. We have to get over that stigma.”

She says Sean as one of those nice people. She describes him as a funny guy who was full of lots of character and spark.

“There was always something different with Sean compared to his brother and sister. He was a lot more curious but he also loved to go hiking and camping, and fishing. He and I would go mushroom picking, seasonally, all the time for pine mushrooms. He just loved the outdoors (and) adventuring,”  Treloar said.

He also had a very caring side, according to his mom. 

“He was a very compassionate, caring young man.”

Tomorrow (Aug. 31st) marks the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.