Hay River South
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Addictions have a devastating impact, not only on individuals but on families and the community, as well. It is a difficult and sensitive issue, one that is hidden in the background, quietly discussed, provided some support, but never appears front and centre.
In the past several months, Hay River has had to deal with several events that included the tragic loss of local residents. The community has seen the hospitalization of others due to overdose and vehicle accidents brought on by alcohol or drugs. When events such as these happen, we immediately look to lay blame in order to deflect responsibility from ourselves. We try to remove it from what we consider mainstream society, when in actuality it is interwoven in the very fabric of society, and we tend to normalize it.
Mr. Speaker, I recognize and admit that I have limited knowledge in the area of addictions. However, I do understand that drug addiction, no matter what walk of life you are from, does not care who it harms or what agony and grief it causes individuals and families.
I have met with people who have drug addictions, those who experience mental health issues due to drug use, those families personally impacted, and medical staff dealing with persons detoxing. I strongly believe addictions needs to be brought to the forefront and provided resources to seriously address it.
Mr. Speaker, this government is providing some financial resources to address addictions, but knowing that this government has no issue identifying $87 million to address COVID monitoring and enforcement when no one has died in the NWT but is slow to act when it comes to dealing with a disease that is hospitalizing, killing, or destroying our family members and friends on a regular basis, I find this to be a travesty. This disease does not work in a vacuum. To fuel itself, it takes advantage of peer pressure, lack of housing, unemployment, mental health issues, personal trauma, effects of residential schools, and other realities. Because of this, I expect and look to this government to take a cross-departmental approach to address it. We must look for and action real solutions that work for the people of the NWT.
Mr. Speaker, I do not want to see another mother or father having to experience the death of a child because we are not doing enough to support the treatment of addictions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.