By Tawnya Plain Eagle
Two walk and rally’s took place in Piikani Monday for International Overdose awareness day.
Martin Iron Shirt and Teddi Cross Child held a walk through the community on Monday evening to bring awareness to the rise of drug overdoses.
The walk started from the new Travel Centre and finished at the Arbour, where people from the community came together and share their stories about living through an overdose.
“I want the young ones to know not to be afraid to fight for something your passionate about,” Iron Shirt said.
It is important to raise awareness and talk about these addictions Cross Child said, because you never know when you will come in contact with a bad batch.
“It’s like playing Russian roulette with your life, they don’t even know what they are actually facing,” Cross Child said.
Both Iron Shirt and Cross Child have had close experiences with relatives overdosing from opioids, which became a driving force for both to fight for ones battling with addictions.
“We want to let the community know that there is people like us that are willing to help support and work together with other parents and groups,” Iron Shirt said.
“[Also] to let addicts know that we are fighting for them,” he added.
Earlier in the day Dianna North Peigan, Myrna Red Young Man and Lori Vrebrosch held an event at community hall.
Dianna North Peigan recently lost her son to overdose and has become a major activist against drugs in the community.
“I just can’t sit back and let another life be lost when we can actually prevent it,” North Peigan said.
Since Piikani has seen a substantial rise in overdoses in the past year, she wants everyone to know the importance of having a naloxone kit.
According to National Harm Reduction Collation brain damage could occur within three to five minutes without oxygen.
North Peigan believes it is important to have easy access to naloxone kits.
Rexall pharmacy was in attendance to hand out these naloxone kits to community members who attended.
“It is very important that these are on hand, so we can help prevent a loss of life,” North Peigan said.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of this global campaign.
”In 2019, more than 780 people died of overdose from opioids, other drugs and alcohol in Alberta,” said Jason Luan, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.