By Tim Kalinowski on January 21, 2021.
The Blood Tribe Police Service is confirming the Blood Tribe council, with the assistance of the Housing department and occasional assistance of the BTPS, has stepped up efforts to close up local drug houses as opioid overdoses have surged on the First Nation in recent months.
“It is the community’s initiative in conjunction with the police and Housing,” confirms Insp. Farica Prince of the BTPS. “The community has self-identified houses they wish to target based on information about drug trafficking.”
Prince says the community took the initiative to do this in conjunction with other measures to try to curb the rise of overdoses in the community.
“The Blood Tribe has been very forward thinking about this (issue), and this is one of the initiatives that has come out of their strategies on how to combat it,” she says. “Another successful strategy has been their trespassing bylaw, and you have seen non-Nation members have been arrested for possession for the purpose of trafficking and the initial trespassing bylaw charge.”
Prince has no information on how many drug houses have been closed or how many individuals have been displaced on the First Nation as a result of these efforts, as it has been done under the Housing umbrella and not the police.
A Herald request for verification of the numbers to the Blood Tribe Housing department was not responded to prior to press time on Wednesday.
Prince confirms the community has faced increased pressure and anxieties in recent months due to strict COVID public health restrictions, increased overdoses and overdose deaths, and now from the recent surge in cases of COVID-19 among Blood Tribe members.
“I think everyone has been struggling one way or another, and unfortunately when you are in isolation and you have these health issues on top of that it’s hard,” she says. “Our opioid crisis has not stopped just because of the pandemic.”
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