Northern communities mark National Addictions Awareness week
'It's time that we stop sweeping things under the carpet,' says Inuvik's Joey Amos
Inuvik is hosting a variety of activities to educate the public on drug and alcohol addictions during this year's National Addictions Awareness Week, which runs Nov. 12 to 18.
Educational films, healing circles and opioid overdose treatment are just some events lined up for the week.
Joey Amos, Manager of the John Wayne Kiktorak Centre, said agencies in Inuvik are taking a more proactive approach to dealing with a problem that may be getting bigger.
"I think it's at a point where it's becoming more and more evident that there is a problem out there," said Amos.
"Now that the economy is coming to a slower pace because of no employment, we could potentially see it increase."
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A report published earlier this year found the N.W.T. had more hospitalizations caused by alcohol, per capita, than anywhere else in Canada.
Amos says the community knows there's a problem with addictions, but there's still not enough discussion about it.
"It's time that we stop sweeping things under the carpet," he said.
Community events scheduled
Behchoko is also participating in National Addictions Awareness Week.
Information sessions and community discussions at the Behchoko Culture Centre are focusing on the causes of addiction, including unresolved loss and grief.
Moving forward is also a theme for the Behchoko event, highlighting relationships and forgiveness.
Joey Amos suggested that in order to move ahead, Indigenous leaders from different communities need to come together to discuss addictions in the North.
"How can we work together to lessen the impact on one agency? How can we share and not work alone being in silos? How can we compliment each other's work?"
With files from Brandon Maher