This year, as part of the National Addictions Awareness Week, members from Simpcw First Nation met at Barriere Secondary School on Thursday, Nov. 21. At noon, the entire school assembled for a brief introduction by principal Ken Rife, who introduced Chief Rita Matthew and wellness worker Grace McLeish, both of whom spoke to the students.
Chief Matthew said the purpose of the week was to bring awareness to the problem of addictions, and about how easy it is to develop an addiction. “When people get into addictions,” she explained, “It is usually to try to fill a need in their life. But alcohol or drugs don’t actually fill those needs.”
Matthew went on to ask the students to raise their hands if they know someone who has died from an addiction, and again, if they know someone who is able to have a great time – without having an addiction. Both times, hands were raised.
McLeish stated how easy it is to develop an addiction, but noted there is lots of help available for those struggling with addictions. “People think ‘it can’t happen to me’, but it so easily can,” said McLeish, “You try something once and have fun, and it makes you feel good. So you do it a few more times, and before you know it, you’re addicted. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help to get your life back in balance.”
The students then headed out to participate in a ‘Sober Walk’, led by members of the Barriere RCMP.