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Blood Tribe rallies to fight growing use of deadly drug

Members of the Blood Tribe rally for awareness of the danger of the drug Oxy 80, which is linked to 10 deaths.

Members of the Blood Tribe rally for awareness of the danger of the drug Oxy 80, which is linked to 10 deaths.


Members of the Blood Tribe marched from Moccasin Flats to the Moses Lake Community Center.

Members of the Blood Tribe marched from Moccasin Flats to the Moses Lake Community Center.

HEATHER CAMERON – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
A rally to bring awareness to 10 deaths connected to the drug Oxy 80 was held Monday at Moccasin Flats just outside of Cardston.
“These RCMP should get their act together and get these guys straightened out,” Blood Tribe member Elvis Clovis Shot On Both Sides said.
Shot On Both Sides said Oxy 80 nearly killed his daughter.
“On our reserve, people are dying left and right of drugs and alcohol and it’s not getting any better, it’s getting a lot worse,” Shot On Both Sides said.
The rally, which had the slogan, “We are mad, we are hurt, we are fed up!” began with words from Dr. Tailfeathers of the Blood Tribe about how deep the crisis had become, how important it was to become aware of the drug and to avoid it.
Tailfeathers spoke about the high potency of the drug and about how it was more dangerous than the drugs that were known already.
Oxy 80 contains fentanyl, a potent narcotic, and is often used to treat the pain from fractures or surgical procedures and can be deadly if used inappropriately or overused.
“I feel we’re at a crisis,” Tailfeathers said. “I feel it’s a symptom of actually what’s happening in the community and the young people need to have hope and they need to see that addiction weighs very heavily on our people.”
Dr. Tailfeathers encouraged people to stay away from it and be aware of anyone who might use it.
“We started this (rally) because we noticed there were a lot of deaths in our community about this Oxy 80 and we wanted to bring awareness to this problem,” Blood Tribe member Pamela Little Bear said. “It hit us hard because it seems we’re constantly burying our people because of this drug. It hurts all of us.”
After Dr. Tailfeathers finished her comments members of the Blood Tribe marched to the Moses Lake Community Center for the remainder of the rally.
Blood Tribe member Travis Plaited Hair spoke to a crowd of youth and adults about the growing crisis and how important it was to be aware of the drug and what could be done to be aware of the problem.
Following Plaited Hair’s comments, Pamela Little Bear spoke about her battle with addiction and how it cost her so much personally before she came out of it with help from friends and medical professionals.
“I’m more alive, I’m more happier, I want to help people,” Little Bear said. “In the addiction, I felt like I was in a dark, gray cloud.”
At that point, the media was invited to talk with Little Bear further while others spoke with the audience about how important it was to be aware and stay away from the dangerous drug Oxy 80.
According to drugs.com, Oxy 80 has 80 milligrams of Oxycontin per pill and is an analgesic used to address chronic pain, but the risk of someone abusing it or becoming dependent on it is high.
There are side effects to Oxy 80 that may require medical attention depending on how well the user is able to adapt to the drug.
If left untreated the negative side effects could lead to death.
“People start to stop, but they hit the bump and they fall back down,” Little Bear said. “If they could jump over that bump, they would feel better. The message I want people to know is that once you get over that bump, you’re not going to want to go back because you feel alive, you feel healthy.”
A rally was also held at Stand Off at the Old Saipoyi school on Tuesday and another is planned in Lethbridge at the Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Society on Wednesday, Jan. 21.
On Thursday, Jan. 22 there will be a gathering at the multi-purpose area in Stand Off for anyone in the community affected by addiction.
In response to the Oxy 80 issue the Blood Tribe Police has formed a two-member task force that will focus solely on addressing issues connected drug issues.

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