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
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
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
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