‘It’s time to quit’: Blood Tribe hit with 21 drug overdoses in 5 days

Doctor blames increase due to crisis in Lethbridge where carfentanil has hit the streets.

The Blood Tribe in Alberta has been hit with a spike in overdoses in the less than a week that has put a heavy strain on its emergency services.

“We had a total of 21 overdoses on the reserve that were documented in the last 5 days,” said Dr. Susan Christenson of the Blood Tribe department of health.

That’s compared to the usual five to 10 overdoses a month she said.

Christenson believes the increase has to do with the recent crisis in Lethbridge where carfentanil has hit the streets. There have been over 50 overdoses there in the past week.

She thinks it’s made its way to the reserve and it’s much more potent than the regular, yet deadly, fentanyl.

Christenson said fentanyl overdose can usually be turned around, if caught in time, with one of two vials of naloxone.

Carfentanil overdoses require six or seven.

“Emergency Medical Services came to me to get what naloxone kits I had left because they had completely depleted their supply,” she said.

Robin Calfrobe used to struggle with addictions but turned to Christenson for help. She wants to see more youth do the same.

“It’s time to quit,” said Calfrobe. “It’s time to change and I hope our people, the tribal council, is going to do their best to put a stop to this.”

Video Journalist / Calgary

Tamara is Métis from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received a diploma in interactive media arts at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon and has worked as a videographer for CBC in Winnipeg and Iqaluit. Tamara was hired by APTN in 2016 as a camera/editor and is now a video journalist in our Calgary bureau.

2 thoughts on “‘It’s time to quit’: Blood Tribe hit with 21 drug overdoses in 5 days

  1. I am sorry for these tragic losses! Condolences to all who have lost loved ones. You are one of the strongest tribes in Canada. I believe you were so strong historically that you were /are the largest reserve in Canada. You have many educated people and these people need to step up to the plate to help provide support for this. I pray to the grandfathers and grandmothers that the future will unfold for the Highest Good of all.

  2. I am sorry for these tragic losses! Condolences to all who have lost loved ones. You are one of the strongest tribes in Canada. I believe you were so strong historically that you were /are the largest reserve in Canada. You have many educated people and these people need to step up to the plate to help provide support for this. I pray to the grandfathers and grandmothers that the future will unfold for the Highest Good of all.

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