Indigenous Approaches to Alberta’s Opioid Crisis

Alberta's First Nations seek indigenous-informed addiction recovery strategies to combat the growing opioid crisis, emphasizing cultural safety and traditional healing practices.

Indigenous Community’s Approach to Alberta’s Growing Opioid Crisis

As reported recently by MSN, Albert’s First Nations communities are urgently seeking indigenous-informed addiction recovery strategies in response to the ongoing Canadian opioid crisis. This blog post delves into the effects of the opioid crisis on these communities, the steps being taken to combat them, and the need for a more culturally appropriate approach to treatment and recovery.

The Impact of Canada’s Ovarching Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis in Canada has been devastating, with dramatic increases in opioid-related deaths and hospitalizations detected over the past few years. This crisis affects all communities, but the consequences for Alberta’s First Nations communities have been particularly severe.

Increased Deaths and Hospitalizations

The sharp rise in opioid-related deaths and hospitalizations is a stark reflection of the depth of the crisis. Studies indicate that, due to socio-economic factors and systemic racism, members of the indigenous community are disproportionately impacted by opioid-related harm than the general population.

Effects on Community Safety and Security

The crisis not only impacts the health and lives of affected individuals but also their communities. It has been linked with escalating crime rates and increasing numbers of homeless people, presenting significant safety and security issues.

Cultural Implications

Beyond the health and security issues, the opioid crisis threatens the cultural survival of the indigenous community. The loss of community members and the cycle of addiction disrupts the passing on of cultural knowledge and traditions, undermining the community’s cultural continuity and resilience.

Current Abatement Efforts: Class-Action Lawsuit

In an effort to combat the opioid crisis, First Nations in Alberta have united under the umbrella of the Assembly of First Nations to launch a Canadian opioid abatement class action. They are seeking redress for the harm opioids have caused to their communities, hoping that the lawsuit will force opioid manufacturers and distributors to be held accountable for their role in the crisis.

Call for Indigenous-Informed Addiction Recovery

Alberta’s First Nations are calling for an indigenous-informed approach to addiction recovery, prioritising cultural safety and incorporating traditional indigenous healing practices. They argue that this approach would be more effective than the current strategy, which focuses on providing safer opioid supplies to those battling addiction.

Importance of Naloxone

While insisting on indigenous-informed recovery, the communities recognize the importance of harm reduction approaches such as the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdose events. However, they believe this should be part of a broader, more comprehensive strategy that includes culturally appropriate addiction treatment and recovery.

Key Points from the Article

  • Opioid crisis is causing increased deaths and hospitalizations, particularly in Alberta’s First Nations communities.
  • The crisis is related to escalating crime rates and an increase in homelessness.
  • The opioid crisis threatens the cultural survival of the indigenous community.
  • First Nations communities are seeking redress through the Canadian opioid abatement class action.
  • The communities are calling for indigenous-informed addiction recovery strategies rather than a focus on providing safer opioid supplies.
  • There is recognition of the importance of naloxone in reversing opioid overdoses, but this needs to be part of a broader approach to tackle the crisis.


Alberta’s First Nations communities are at the frontlines of the Canadian opioid crisis, experiencing its devastating effects on a daily basis. As they unite to seek redress through the Canadian opioid abatement class action, their call for indigenous-informed addiction recovery must be heeded by policymakers and health authorities. Only through a comprehensive approach that respects and incorporates indigenous healing practices can real progress be made in overcoming this crisis and fostering recovery in these deeply affected communities.


Contact Us:

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Scroll to Top