Dialogue Volume 15, Issue 3 2019 | Page 20

OPIOIDS How Do You Measure Hope? In the First Nations opioids epidemic, progress comes when addressing root causes and driving meaningful outcomes “ I consider myself one of the lucky ones,” says Roy Cutfeet. At age 40, he says he has never felt better. Cutfeet hasn’t touched Oxycodone for about three years, after kicking a habit that found him injecting it daily. “I fought hard to get clean,” he says. Cutfeet was on a suboxone program for his addiction. He now helps others as a crisis coordinator in Kitch- enuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Ont., also known as Big Trout Lake. The Ojibway-Cree community, 580 km north of Thunder Bay, is accessible by air year-round, and by 20 DIALOGUE ISSUE 3, 2019 winter road from January-March. You’ll find a grocery store, community store (including banking, post office and gas), arena, bowling alley, new health centre, band office, community hall, and a JK-10 school (students must leave the community if they want to finish high school). About seven years back, Cutfeet says KI started to face an opioid epidemic. The effects of addiction on the individual may be similar anywhere, but the cumulative impact is magnified here. In such a small community, the damage ripples. “It really did a number,” he says. “Everybody knows everybody.” BY STUART FOXMAN