Samantha Ginter wants to emphasize that those who use substances are deserving of everything everyone else is. 

After her partner passed away due to drug poisoning last year, Ginter made it her priority to educate herself and others dealing with substance use.

“I heard paramedics call my partner a junkie and a waste of time and resources. I have heard community members complain that it is a waste of taxpayers’ money for treatment and harm reduction supplies,” says Ginter.

“They are our family members. Our community members. They deserve just as much respect and dignity as you and I do, and I just want them to know that they are not alone.”

Ginter has trained others in the community on how to use Naloxone kits. 

She also helped co-host Airdrie’s first International Overdose Awareness Day with the hope to end the stigma towards people who use substances and establish better support systems.

Melanie Wagemakers met Ginter while volunteering for the event. She says Ginter has saved lives in the community through her advocacy.

“While still walking through her own storm, she has still found a way to give back in hopes that she will be able to save someone from the same heartbreak she has experienced,” Wagemakers says.