Adam Zivo: B.C. drug policies are ‘a joke,’ says Indigenous chief who isn’t laughing – National Post

Apr 04, 2024

RCMP find 3,500 diverted ‘safer supply’ opioid pills on First Nation that is struggling to fight drug and alcohol addiction

Ronnie Chickite, chief of the We Wai Kai Nation, is upset — with good reason. In February, approximately 3,500 diverted safer supply hydromorphone pills were discovered in a drug bust on one his nation’s reserves near Campbell River, B.C. Chickite says although he had previously been aware of safer supply diversion, the discovery of so many pills in his community invoked “shocking disbelief.”

“Safer supply” refers to the practice of prescribing free recreational drugs as an alternative to potentially-tainted street substances. While advocates claim that this practice saves lives, critics counter that clients regularly divert their taxpayer-funded drugs to the black market, leading to new addictions and overdoses.

Unlike some Indigenous communities, the We Wai Kai Nation has minimized alcohol and drug abuse among its members with relative success. Rather than “destigmatizing” drugs, the nation’s leadership has invested in recovery-oriented services while restricting the local supply of illicit substances.

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