TORONTO – “National Addictions Awareness Week is the time for us to focus on creating the necessary space for reconciliation and healing in First Nations communities, where addictions and the use of opioids has long been in crisis proportions.
First Nations are a resilient people, having long lived and battled the effects of colonization, residential schools and the intergenerational trauma that comes with surviving these impacts. We have been able to do this due to the fact that many communities and individuals are going back to the land, where they can find the healing that is needed in ceremonies and the medicines. It is our time to thrive and not just survive. We need to heal the effects of colonization and the damage done by intergenerational trauma in order to combat and heal from addiction. It’s time to break the cycle.
In order to properly prevent and address this tragic and ongoing addictions issue, First Nations need the resources to take control and develop services that are First Nation-driven; to build capacity and the opportunity to generate effective planning, supports and research that is relevant and appropriate to the needs of First Nations.
We are prepared to face these issues with the determination and strength to make real and lasting change, as the impact of addictions affects every individual’s families and communities. We have processes in place through our Trilateral Mental Health and Addictions Working Group and other initiatives supporting community-lead land-based healing, awareness and prevention activities, as well as research mandates to address the issues and solutions. Ongoing support for these is critical as we move forward.
This is an opportunity to focus our thoughts on prevention, and talking about healing, treatment and recovery, and lasting solutions for change with our communities and leadership.”
Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald