Media releases

Canada’s public health crisis: TELUS Health Originals documentary illustrates the effects of opioid addiction

November 22, 2018

Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis looks at how this epidemic is impacting families and communities countrywide

Vancouver – Today, TELUS released the first installment of its new TELUS Health Originals documentary series, a heartbreaking look at the public health emergency devastating North America through a new documentary: Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis. Available on YouTube and on the TELUS Optik TV Healthy Living Network on channel 346 in western Canada, the film illustrates how the ravages of opioids are felt far beyond heavy drug users revealing how they are now devastating families and communities across every race, gender and socio-economic status.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Matthew Embry (Living Proof), the documentary takes an inside look at this complex epidemic fueled by legal and illegal activity, exacerbated by well-intentioned drug policies and annihilated by fentanyl. Featuring interviews with every day families who share their personal stories of how their lives have been devastated by the opioid crisis, this film sheds light on a topic that knows no bounds of discrimination and initiates necessary conversations to help remove the stigma of addiction. In 2017, there were nearly 4,000 opioid-related deaths in Canada. Between January and March 2018 alone, 73% of accidental apparent opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl, compared to 54% in 2016 and 72% in 2017.

“Part of our work at TELUS Health is to create advocacy around serious and important health topics and it is a privilege to be able to help Canadians become more informed about what Fentanyl is and how it is ravaging our communities through this documentary we have created.” said Juggy Sihota, vice-president, TELUS Health. “The opioid crisis in our country needs our collective attention; we believe that the health of our communities is of the utmost importance and it is through building awareness and understanding that we will help to eliminate the stigma of addiction and build stronger healthier communities across our country.”

Painkiller: Inside the Opioid Crisis features interviews with frontline responders, border services and addiction specialists who share their perspective on the underlying problem of the ongoing opioid crisis and try to answer the question: how can our society treat pain without causing more? The film will be screened across the country in major cities as follows:

● Toronto, ON, November 19: AGO Jackman Hall (pre-screening)
● Edmonton, AB, November 21: Citadel Theatre | Zeidler Hall (pre-screening)
● Calgary, AB, November 22: Junction Grand Theatre
● Kelowna, BC, November 25: Kelowna Innovation Centre
● Vancouver, BC, November 26: SFU Harbour Centre | Fletcher Challenge Theatre
● Prince George, BC, November 27: UNBC Weldwood Theatre
● Surrey, BC, November 29: Surrey Civic Centre
● Victoria, BC, November 29: Oak Bay Beach Hotel (in Victoria)
● Winnipeg, MB, December 4: Winnipeg Art Gallery
● Ottawa, ON, December 6: Ottawa Art Gallery

To RSVP for a public screening, please contact: consumerhealth@telus.com

“The opioid epidemic is taking lives every single day. At TELUS, we believe we need to tell these difficult stories to drive change, so we can improve the lives of everyone in our community,” said Blair Miller, vice-president, Consumer Products and Content, TELUS. “We created this documentary to spark conversations about the opioid crisis, unite people and build better understanding.”

The film premieres today in English on YouTube and the TELUS Optik TV Healthy Living Network on channel 346 in western Canada; a French subtitled version of the film will be released on YouTube in the coming months.

To help fight the opioid crisis, TELUS will donate $5 for every view of the documentary, up to $50,000, to organizations providing critical care to those impacted, such as TELUS Health for Good, our Mobile Health Clinics providing primary healthcare to over 30,000 homeless Canadians.

For more details on the documentary please visit: www.telus.com/painkiller.

About TELUS Health and Payment Solutions
TELUS Health is a leader in home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, as well as consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management solutions. TELUS Health leverages the power of technology to enable better health outcomes for Canadians with innovative digital solutions that enable collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied health care professionals, insurers, employers and citizens. TELUS Payment Solutions complements our health solutions by delivering secure, industry-compliant payment and lending solutions that connect lenders, payors, insurers, extended health care providers and financial institutions to their customers across Canada.

For more information please visit: www.telushealth.com and www.telus.com/payment-solutions.

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For media inquiries, please contact:
Jill Yetman
TELUS Social and Media Relations
Jill.yetman@telus.com
416-992-2639