First Nations group walks 100s of kilometres to raise awareness about meth

First Nations group walks 100s of kilometres to raise awareness about meth

Ursula Mason knows first-hand what meth can do to communities.

She used to use it and now has walked hundreds of kilometres to raise awareness about the drug.

“We’re trying to get that out of our communities. It’s destroying lives. It’s destroying friendships, relationships and families and it’s just destroying everything,” Mason said.

She’s part of a small group of people who walked from St. Theresa Point First Nation, 460 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, to the city for the cause.

The group arrived in Winnipeg on Sunday and plans to walk to the Manitoba Legislature Tuesday morning before heading to Ottawa.

They want to convince the province and federal government to set up meth treatment centres in their northern Manitoba communities and post sniffer dogs at local airports without regular security to stop meth from getting into remote locations.

Mason said she used meth for 17 months.

She was able to get clean the hard way — going cold turkey — and says religion is what helped her get clean.

“I thought I could never stop,” she said, while admitting she endangered the lives of her kids.

“When I was on it, I didn’t care about anything or anybody.”

Liberal MLA calls for action

Last week, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen said he’d be willing to meet with the group once they arrived in Winnipeg.

He was speaking in response to a call for action from Manitoba Liberal MLA Judy Klassen, who represents the area including Island Lake.

During question period last week, ​Klassen echoed the group’s call for sniffer dogs at airports to screen flights into the communities

At the time, Klassen said many from Manitoba’s Island Lake communities, including St. Theresa Point, became hooked on meth in Winnipeg when wildfires forced them to evacuate to the city last summer.

Around 6,300 people were flown to Winnipeg and Brandon from the Island Lake First Nations of Wasagamack, St. Theresa Point and Garden Hill after wildfires broke out in the summer of 2017.

Published at Tue, 10 Apr 2018 09:29:47 -0400