|DENE ELDER ROGER DERANGER,EDMONTON, ALBERTA|
AN ELDERS WEEPS
An elder weeps softly after hearing the news of his nephew’s body being discovered, apparently of a drug overdose. He weeps for a future that will never come to the 28 year old man, a young man who should have decades of life left. The elder weeps because he is powerless to stop this dangerous drug that has claimed many young lives. He weeps for the young children who will never remember their father who loved them.
I was meeting with Mental Health Addictions, and Indigenous Relations Ministers who have placed the combatting of the opioid crisis at the top of their priority for Albertans. Opioids strikes indiscriminately hitting Indigenous peoples and others alike. It does not play favorites. It does not care if you are rich or if you are poor. It hooks people the same, the addiction can be swift, or it can linger on for years impacting the people and those you love and are the closest to you.
Addressing the opioid crisis must be approached by looking at prevention, treatment, and aftercare. It is important that the addict does not return to the very same environment that fostered his addiction.
Many people are defenseless against this disease, it becomes a never-ending cycle of searching for their next fix. In the process abusing their body until they are rendered helpless to reverse the effects of this drug.
The elder weeps, surrendering to the feelings of hopelessness and despair. I too feel despair. it is frustrating.
On February 14 I was in the meeting with the Ministers hoping that since we were meeting on Valentine’s Day they would respond to our last meeting with a sweetheart deal, but it was not to be. although, in our meeting, the phrase "people are dying" was repeated several times. It tells me they get it.
To emphasize that point,
|Quinton Deranger 1992-2020|
This death is a sad and poignant reminder that what we are fighting for is our precious youths' life who are struggling with addictions. Each and every life is sacred.
I am dedicated to working diligently to ensure that our critical work continues in spite of this obstacle.
Nechi Institute has graduated over 15,000 addiction counselors who are in their Indigenous communities all across Canada addressing the impact of opioids and other addictive substances in our hundreds of Indigenous communities. Our efforts are being stymied by the Alberta
government because of a unilateral decision to evict us without the impact that will have in communities long-term. Our work is not done.
I am convinced that Nechi is needed now more than ever as a key component of dealing with the opioid crisis on the prevention side and in developing capacity in communities and that Nechi's Continued work is at least as important as adding a few treatment beds.
Nechi is not funded by government. It is self funding selling certification training to First nation communities.