Thunder Bay

Treaty 3 community toolkit to help address meth addiction in First Nations

The Treaty 3 Drug Task Force announced the launch of a new community toolkit, as part of a three year plan to combat drug addiction in First Nation communities.

Lack of resources, funding and gap in services some of the many challenges

The Treaty 3 Drug Task Force has announced a community toolkit to help combat meth addiction in First Nation communities. (Guillermo Arias/Associated Press)

The Treaty 3 Drug Task Force announced the launch of a new community toolkit, as part of a three year plan to combat drug addiction in First Nation communities.

Shelley Skye, the provincial health policy analyst with the task force and one of the members who helped develop the new toolkit, said one of the biggest problems facing First Nation communities across Treaty 3 is the use of meth.

"The challenge in the communities is that there is a lack of resources but there's a gap in services ... and that's part of the reason that we've looked at developing this strategy and also this task force, to [help] those communities in addressing those issues," Skye told CBC News.

Skye said the toolkit is geared at stopping people before they get addicted, but it also will help educate and support current drug users, as well as community members who may have friends and family members who are addicted to drugs.

"It's a resource for communities to educate and reform those individuals that are maybe thinking about using drugs," she added, "and we also look at some of the root causes of addiction."

She said the toolkit will also provide resources and step by step instructions on how a community can address addiction issues as well as help find a solution to the problem.

"We also provide a step by step guide on how to develop maybe a task force within their community. So really just trying to provide them with basic resources to get moving and to begin to look at addressing the issue of the community," Skye said.

Pamphlets and power-point presentations will also help communities figure out what meth looks like, what it's made of, as well as the impact and effects of meth addiction. The goal is to help start a conversation with people who are thinking about using meth, as well as speak with those who know individuals that are currently using the substance.

She said more front line workers and mental health resources would help address the issue of addiction in First Nation communities, but more importantly, they need the funding to help make these things happen.

"We have very minimal dollars and we have very minimal resource as far as front line workers," she continued, "and we also need after-care programs ... [and] we need longer treatment programs."