February 26, 2024
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CANADALAND
#966 State of Emergency in Pikwakanagan
When an Opioid Crisis hits a First Nation it’s different than in a city. In the city the addicted are mostly strangers. But in Pikwakanagan, if you see somebody behaving strangely on the reserve, you know them. You know your neighbor's business. You are your brother's keeper. So addiction is not just about the pain of losing somebody you love. It's about desperately hoping to save someone you love or protect someone you love.
Karyn Pugliese
Editor-in-Chief
Tristan Capacchione
Audio Editor & Technical Producer
Bruce Thorson
Senior Producer
André Proulx
Production Coordinator

The Pikwakanagan First Nation seemed to be doing well – it has a good economy, high graduation rate, it has been revitalizing its culture, the books are tight. But things have gotten bad in the last five years. Pikwakanagan is not immune to the troubles infiltrating the towns surrounding it. 

Late last year, Chief Greg Sarazin declared a State of Emergency over Opioids in the small rural community, just 150 kilometers from Ottawa. When a crisis hits a city like Belleville it makes headlines, but First Nations are not getting attention, or all the help they need to fight addiction. They are relying, in many ways, on their own devices. 

There were at least five overdoses last year in a community with only 250 adults; that’s 1 in 50 people. Even more people must be using. But it’s not just about those on reserve. When you count the cousins, the kids and the other family members living away, there have been dozens.  What happened, and what is the community doing to try and stem the crisis. 

 

Host: Karyn Pugliese 

Credits: Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief), Tristan Capacchione (Audio Editor and Technical Producer), Bruce Thorson (Senior Producer)

Further reading: 

Additional music by Audio Network

 

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When an Opioid Crisis hits a First Nation it’s different than in a city. In the city the addicted are mostly strangers. But in Pikwakanagan, if you see somebody behaving strangely on the reserve, you know them. You know your neighbor's business. You are your brother's keeper. So addiction is not just about the pain of losing somebody you love. It's about desperately hoping to save someone you love or protect someone you love.
February 26, 2024
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