Nova Scotia

Eskasoni coming together to fight drug abuse

The Eskasoni first nation is trying to fight drug abuse with help from every part of the community.

The Eskasoni First Nation is trying to fight drug abuse with help from every part of the community.

"The community of Eskasoni has had enough with the prescription drug abuse here," said RCMP Sgt. Loran Gavel.

Fran Young says the community is fed up with the drug abuse in Eskasoni. (CBC)

Gavel said the community, with more than 3,300 residents, is stepping up after numerous suicides set off alarm bells over drug abuse.

The community has been fighting drug abuse with education and informing police on drug trafficking in their neighbourhoods, he said.

Police say they also need help from the medical officials to continue their work.

Just on Friday, RCMP seized 120 hydromorphine pills of varying strengths, scales and drug paraphernalia from a home on Pine Street.

Eskasoni resident Judd Lafford, 30, and Murray O'Toole, 35, from Millbrook were both charged with trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Parent groups and education programs in schools want to spread the message about drug addictions.

"Every kid that we lost to drugs, it does affect me," said Fran Young, a member of Parents Against Drugs.

She said the community is fed up with drug dealers and is fighting back by informing police.

"We are trying not to hide them — the people that are selling drugs. We don't want to hide them anymore. We want to pull them out," she said. "Get rid of them."

Sgt. Loran Gavel says the medical community has to be careful when prescribing drugs. (CBC)

Over the last year, search warrants, drug busts and charges have tripled in Eskasoni, police say.

Gavel said community support is helping police fight drug abuse — everything from marijuana to prescription pills.

But doctors need to be cautious when writing prescriptions for opiates, he said.

"How do I keep it off the streets? It's a uphill battle there is no easy answer for it," Gavel said. "I need prescription monitoring to help me out, I need doctors to help me out, I need community to help me out."