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Walk

Lori Kewaquom (left) with her drum and song and James Kewaquom with his eagle staff led walkers down Highway 21 to raise awareness about the harmful effects of drugs.

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Enough, a community group from Saugeen First Nation (SFN), led a walk down Highway 21 May 20 to raise awareness about the harmful effects of drugs.

Approximately two dozen people from Saugeen Shores and Saugeen First Nation turned up for the walk that started at the Band Office and ended at the Mino Bimaadsawin Health Centre on Mason Drive where a gathering was held.

Sonya Roote said that the SFN community has lost three young people in the last two years to drugs. “It’s almost like people don’t want help because they don’t want people to know,” she said. “You can sit silent and just wait for the next kid to die or we can speak up and say, ‘Look, we’ve got to do something about this,’” she added.

Cheryl George said it can be difficult for families who need help. “They know that someone in their life has an addiction but they don’t want other people to know,” she said.

Stacey John said the group has been meeting for a few weeks and was inspired in part by other communities who had decided to do something. “It creates awareness to their Chief and Council,” she said.

“We’re trying to collectively, as a group, look at solutions,” said John. “Let’s be a support group for parents or other people; and how can we try and combat the drug issue,” she said.

“Let’s not be part of the problem, let’s be part of the solution,” she said, adding that it isn't just a problem that impacts Saugeen First Nation.

Roote said that in addition to cocaine, opioids such as fentanyl and morphine are also a concern. “And now carfentanil,” she added.

In Grey Bruce the first reported case of carfentanil was in Hanover in 2017 and later in Owen Sound. Public Health Grey Bruce recommends that anyone who uses opioids or knows someone who uses opioids to have Naloxone available in case of overdose. Naloxone will temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose and is safe with no potential for abuse.

Naloxone kits are available through the Grey Bruce Health Unit, 101 17th Street East in Owen Sound, as well as at many pharmacies throughout Grey and Bruce counties. One unit of carfentanil is said to be 100 times as potent as the same amount of fentanyl, and 5,000 times as potent as a unit of heroin. A very small amount can be fatal.

Participants on the walk placed signs along Highway 21, in part to raise awareness but also to send a message to people bringing drugs into the community.

3Generations

Three Generations came out to participate in a walk at Saugeen First Nation May 20. Councillor Sonya Roote (centre) stands with her children, from left, Dallas Thompson, Destiny Roote, and Shawnessy Thompson; and grandchildren Gaige Paul (front) and Lyla Roote.

Stacey

Stacey John and her daughter Eden held their signs for the walk hosted by Enough at Saugeen First Nation May 20.

Signs

Walkers stopped along Highway 21 to put up signs to raise awareness and also to send a message to dealers bringing drugs into the community.

Walkers

Walkers from Saugeen First Nation and Saugeen Shores gathered at the Band Office before heading south down Highway 21.