Wiky moves ahead with local resources to aid prescription drug addicts’ battle

WIKWEMIKONG—Last month, Wikwemikong was selected as one of five First Nation communities in the province to host a Community Wellness Development Team (CWDT) to provide mental health and addictions expertise and support to First Nations communities seeking help in addressing prescription narcotics addiction by blending traditional and cultural practices.

Not only is Wikwemikong hosting the team, they have also begun utilizing the resources to facilitate the development of an action plan to address prescription drug abuse in their community.

With the closure of the Water Street (methadone) Clinic in Little Current on February 15, Wikwemikong was left like many other Island communities, trying to fill the void of the clinic’s closure for members of the community that used the methadone program.

Wikwemikong was proactive and launched an interim working group made up of the mental health team, Ontario Works and Rainbow Lodge workers to develop a preliminary plan to develop a circle of care to utilize the community’s resources to help support band members battling addiction.

The CWDT has now taken over the plan and presented their findings thus far to the Wikwemikong chief and council last week.

“The CWDT plan is coming along well,” Wikwemikong Chief Duke Peliter told The Expositor Monday. “They have been seeking comments from frontline staff, methadone program users and the general public, gathering options, concerns and wishes for future direction. The plan will combine the outline of what resources currently exist in the community and will look at ways that the various groups, resources and facilities can collectively work together to provide the best level of care for community members.”

When asked if Wikwemikong is looking into developing its own methadone clinic, Chief Peliter responded that individuals are currently travelling to Sudbury to the Larch Street Clinic to receive their treatment, “However, we have been looking at a variety of options to care for these individuals, but no decision has been made yet.”

Rainbow Lodge (Ngwaagan Gaming Recovery Centre Inc.) is hosting the CWDT with funding through First Nations and Inuit Health and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

Upon a request from First Nations leadership, the CWDT will help facilitate the development of an action plan to address prescription drug abuse in their communities. The CWDT will provide services for First Nation communities within the central Ontario area, but is based out of Wikwemikong.

Robin Burridge