Mary Annette Pember: Bad River Band citizens battle drug abuse

Members of the Bad River Band of Wisconsin formed Gwayakobimaadiziwin, a volunteer group that means "Making changes to make things right in your life," to address drug abuse and other issues in the community. Photo from Facebook

Members of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe are coming together to prevent drug overdoses and address other health issues in their community. Independent journalist Mary Annette Pember has more from the efforts in Wisconsin:
It’s a simple act of mercy, says Philomena Kebec of the Bad River Ojibwe tribe in Wisconsin, when asked why she carries naloxone in her purse at all times.

Naloxone, also known under the brand name Narcan, is an opioid antagonist used to counter the effects of overdose from narcotics such as morphine or heroin. Kebec carries the nasal spray version of the drug that can be sprayed into the victim’s nostrils.

“I think everybody in Indian country should consider carrying naloxone, just in case,” Kebec said. “We want to save our peoples lives so they have a chance to get sober.”

Kebec noted that overdoses are most likely to happen to those who are trying to get sober from opiates but have relapsed. “Their bodies can no longer handle the amount of the drug they had been using prior to getting sober,“ she said.

“Sometimes people with addictions don’t get sober right away; they may relapse.”

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Mary Annette Pember: Mercy Act, Preventing Overdoses With Narcan (Indian Country Today 3/18)

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