Eskasoni Drug Problem: Taking Back Our Community

March 29, 2012

Eskasoni Drug Problem: Taking Back Our Community


This write-up reflects the growing struggle of Eskasoni’s frustrations, fears and repercussions of drugs abuse and how the community, the band council government and authority are working together to help rid the drugs in their community.

This story must be told and recorded to help our Mi’kmaq Nation grow.

Today’s drugs have become more addictive and more accessible than even 10 years ago. The impact of drug abuse in Eskasoni and other First Nation communities in Atlantic Canada has become widespread.

Every First Nation community in Atlantic Canada has been affected directly or indirectly by drugs. From loss of love ones, to people battling additions and the communities fears because of the ramifications of drug abuse.

Since last summer, Eskasoni Chief and Council focus their attention on the growing drug problems in Eskasoni. Chief and Council held an unprecedented meeting and brought together all the essential minds in devising an anti-drug strategy campaign to fight the war on drugs in their community.

Since then the anti-drug awareness campaign has been launch through, social media, videos, newsletters, community events and public awareness. The campaign is making an impact on the community. Chief Leroy Denny is proud of the community and especially how the youth of Eskasoni are speaking up on saying no to drugs.

And just this month of March 2012 another major blow to the drug trade, especially drugs going into First Nation communities of Cape Breton was announce with charges being laid to many First Nation community members around Cape Breton.

Co-ordinated raids across Cape Breton led to the seizure of drugs and charges against 11 people. Led by the RCMP, the raids targeted prescription drugs, particularly those destined for First Nations communities.

“It’s not isolated to Eskasoni, this is nationwide, but it has a significant impact in Eskasoni because we find that these communities are interconnected within the local drug trade,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Dan Morrow, detachment commander in Eskasoni.

“Suppliers have been charged, arrested, so it will have long-term effects for Eskasoni.”

The raids, which were the result of a two-month investigation, Eskasoni, Chapel Island, Wagmatcook, West Bay, Port Hawkesbury and in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Cape Breton Regional Police assisted the RCMP federal drug detachment and the Eskasoni detachment.

The RCMP, along with Eskasoni Chief Leroy Denny, credited community support for the arrests.

“Children and youth are sick of the drug activity going on,” said Denny. “We just need to continue pushing this forward. It’s going to motivate our people to continue to fight the war on drugs, and I’m hoping that as the largest Mi’kmaq community ... other First Nations and other communities will do the same thing and take the lead role.”

As many as 600 pills were seized, along with undisclosed quantities of cocaine and marijuana. The street value of the drugs was not immediately known. A further five arrests are expected.

“We find that people are now more willing to call us with the intelligence that is so vital for these investigations,” said Morrow. “Without the key intelligence a lot of the things we start would never get off the ground.”

In his closing media address, Chief Leroy Denny, said, “I’m very proud of my community members who took the initiative in making a difference in improving lives of our people. And we all must never forget why we are doing this. This is for the sake our children.”