Red Pheasant Cree Nation Declares Emergency Amidst Drug Overdose Spike


The Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan has declared a state of emergency due to an alarming occurrence of drug overdoses within a 24-hour period. As a result of seven individual cases, a clarion call has been raised for urgent, decisive action against the escalating drug problem menacing the Indigenous community.

Chief Lux Benson of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, in an official statement, underscored the gravity of the issue at hand, stating the Nation’s determination to quake this public health crisis, the first in several planned steps being the declaration of a state of emergency.

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In response to the alarming situation, key community leaders assembled on Monday to deliberate potential solutions for overdose prevention, ensuring mental health support, and ways to disrupt the rampant drug trade within the community. The pressing question which seems to dominate the dialogues, as Austin Ahenakew, a representative from the Nation communicated, is, “How can we evict the drug peddlers from our land?”

Meanwhile, community leaders intend to collaborate with Indigenous Service Canada and local bodies to configure an effective strategy over the next week. Luckily, no lives were claimed in the recent spate of overdoses, thanks to the diligent efforts of the community’s clinic staff who administered Narcan, a potent opioid inhibitor, to the victims. Ahenakew conveyed a dire need to disseminate knowledge of Narcan usage and widen its accessibility.

The strategy’s success, as the Red Pheasant leadership believe, relies significantly on the enforcement mechanism in place. Earlier on Saturday, the Red Pheasant leaders petitioned for intensified police vigilance in the community, requesting the active involvement of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Benson reported potential implementation of stringent measures against suspected drug dens, including potential disruptions of utilities and permanent closure. Ahenewakew emphasized this stern warning is intended to deter potential offenders, rather than orchestrating evictions. The thought of strengthening security through additional security officers was simultaneously pondered.

Additionally, the Red Pheasant statement urged both the federal health minister and the Saskatchewan Government to collaboratively design an efficacious healthcare strategy that would serve the First Nations. Their ultimate aim remains clear: upholding the Treaty and the fundamental rights of First Nations people, thereby ensuring their health, well-being, and dignity.