Members of M'Chigeeng First Nation are pushing for a ban on carry-home methadone prescriptions.
Methadone is a synthetic drug used to help people overcome addiction to OxyContin and other opioid drugs. But as a pain killer, it can also be abused.
In M'Chigeeng on Manitoulin Island, leaders like Joseph Hare are now worried that it's falling into the wrong hands. He said methadone is a problem on his First Nation and carry-home doses of the drug are fuelling the problem.
"Sometimes … people ingest too much of this particular drug and that's what's happened twice now," the chief of the M'Chigeeng First Nation said.
He says he wants to have carry home prescriptions banned so that patients can't bring several days worth of methadone back into the community.
'At a loss'
Meanwhile, the number of methadone maintenance treatment patients continues to rise — a trend that Roger Beaudin at the M'Chigeeng health centre has noticed.
"Five years ago I think we may have had one methadone client," Beaudin said.
"Now look at today … it varies between 20 to 25 [people who] are receiving daily treatment for methadone, and … island-wide it's closer to 100."
Chief Hare said just last week a resident died of a methadone overdose in M'Chigeeng — the second of two young people to die of a methadone overdose in the past year.
"The person who carries them home might, you know, be giving them away to somebody or selling them even," Hare said of the drug.
"We tried to ban them, but I think the doctor is still giving them out. We're just at a loss as to how we correct that situation."