FORT MCMURRAY — A tribal council representing five First Nations in northeastern Alberta have declared a state of emergency over what it calls an escalating mental health and addictions crisis.
Athabasca Tribal Council Grand Chief Allan Adam says 60 people from the communities have died since January from drug overdose, suicide or as a result of self-harm.
The council is calling on the federal government to enter immediate and sustainable funding agreements to develop ways to deal with generational and cultural trauma.
It says it would work to establish detox and treatment centres, health resources and support, a regional employment strategy and an Indigenous-led policing program.
Adam says they cannot rebuild communities and help them thrive without support from government and local industry.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 7, 2023.
The Canadian Press