Sudbury

Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service hosting youth opioid awareness conference

When Terry McCaffrey became chief of the Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service seven months ago, one of the first things he did was purchase Naloxone kits for his officers.

Event will take place March 30 and 31

Terry McCaffrey is the chief of the Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service. (Supplied/Terry McCaffrey)

When Terry McCaffrey became chief of the Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service seven months ago, one of the first things he did was purchase Naloxone kits for his officers.

Thankfully, none of the kits have been used but McCaffrey says he feels it's important to kits be readily available.

"I noticed that our officers were not equipped with this type of life-saving equipment, not only for themselves, but for anyone that they come across that may be suffering from some type of narcotic episode," he said.

"The safety of our community and our officers is paramount to me."

Chief McCaffrey says his community isn't immune to the national opioid crisis. He says police have not been informed of any deaths in the community due to overdoses, but says it's still negatively affecting his area.

"What I do notice is that these are complaints that are coming forward to our service on a consistent basis that information is being presented to us regarding drug trafficking [and] information is being presented to us about people who are using and abusing," he said.

'Our future'

The upcoming conference will give people a chance to openly talk about the issue, said McCaffrey . The Youth Empowerment & Safety Drug Opioid Awareness Conference is scheduled for March 30 and 31 in Little Current.

Aimed at young people in the community and across Manitoulin Island, it will help spread awareness, information and engage youth in the realities of drug and opioid use and abuse.

He says it's important to have open conversations about this topic with young people.

"They are our future," he said. "No matter what community you're in, they're going to be our future leaders … and we want to invest in them."

The conference will feature talks from local leaders about what's being done to address the opioid crisis. Motivational speaker and Indigenous hip hop musician Rob KASP Sawan and poet and musician Mary Black and Blaine Constant of Bloodline-Music will also be there.

McCaffrey says supports will be on site for those who need it.

"There will be something that will be said or something done that will trigger someone in some way," he said.

"We've looked to partner with the crisis centre here as well as the health folks and we're going to have health counsellors on site to provide assistance to anyone who needs it."