Paul Band Nation works to combat drug issues

Two months after two teenage girls overdosed on ecstasy on anEdmonton-area reserve, problems with drugs on the Paul Band Nationreserve continue despite best efforts of residents.

Two months after two teenage girls overdosed on ecstasy on an Edmonton-area reserve, problems with drugs on the Paul Band Nation reserve continue despite best efforts of residents.

Trinity Bird, 15, and Leah House, 14, both died from fatal doses of ecstasy, which they swallowed before a wedding.

Ruby Bird, principal at Paul Band First Nation K-9 School, says while the community rallied behind the eradication of drug use on the reserve at first, efforts have waned over the last couple months.

“It was sobering at first and band administration really jumped in and said we have to do more and at the school. We said the same thing,” Bird said. “Now it’s kind of faded and, of course, the police try and do their drug busts but I don’t think it’s very successful.”

She said that crack cocaine and crystal meth are still prevalent on the reserve, and have become bigger problems than alcoholism. She feels the issue needs critical attention.

“Drugs and liquor will always be a big factor in life on a reserve and in some way everyone is tied into it,” she said.

Bird said while she wouldn’t have been shocked if a frequent drug user on the reserve fell victim to the same fate, nobody ever imagined the girls would come to a drug-fuelled end.

“It was a long time in coming and everyone could see it coming but not to (the girls),” Bird said. “We always think it’s to people who do drugs all the time.”

The band is organizing a camp which will help with heal families and young people that are affected by the tragedy, and has raised $7,000 in funding.

Reservation officials have planned future events and booked visitors to speak on drug prevention to kids.
“We’re all doing small activities to bring the message,” Bird said.

“Everyone is trying to do their part ... We need to be aiming to get a bigger drug education at the school.”

 
 
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