Watching his niece and granddaughter hooked to life-saving equipment yesterday strengthened Dennis Bird’s resolve to tackle the drug problem in their small aboriginal community.
“I’ve always been a community-minded person, but this will make my voice stronger,” the Paul Band First Nation councillor said.
Roughly a dozen panic-stricken relatives waited anxiously at the Stollery Children’s Hospital yesterday while Trinity Bird, 15, and Leah Bird, 14, lay in critical condition, suffering from edema, a condition causing their brains to swell in their skulls.
“When your family is clinging to life, you have to remain hopeful they’ll survive,” Dennis Bird said.
Officials from the Stollery wouldn’t comment on the girls’ condition.
The girls are two of nine that allegedly took tainted ecstasy before a round dance Saturday night.
Of the four rushed to hospital, one was released Sunday and another is in stable condition.
Mounties can confirm that MDMA, the drug found in ecstacy, was present in the girls, but that no poison was detected in testing.
A criminal investigation has been launched, Cpl. Wayne Oakes said yesterday. Officers are seeking anyone who may have had contact with the teens before they fell ill.
Though he thinks the girls were just experimenting with the drug, DennisBird knows the community, 60 kilometres west of Edmonton, isn’t immune to dope pushers.
“Every kid likes to experiment,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to control.”
“These drug dealers are like Macs or 7-11 stores; they’re everywhere.”
Students at a number of Parkland District schools were debriefed by counsellors yesterday.
Plans to intensify existing substance-abuse programs are being drafted, Dennis Bird said.
“We’re trying to remove the human market and wean people off their drug habits,” he said. “We know damn well it’s a poison, so we have to do something.”