fbpx
 

Indigenous Peoples' Day is an important acknowledgment of the trauma suffered by our people, and it’s a time for us to address the ongoing injustices we face. We are witnessing the rape of our land, the murder of Indigenous women, the killing of our brothers and sisters – the grizzly bear and the wolf. 

We face many of the same perpetuators of death and disease as past generations – lack of access to resources, drug trafficking, the poisoning of our water and soil – but with the added impact of climate change and deadly new drugs like fentanyl. We are twice as likely to die of an opioid overdose as non-natives, and the same drugs that poison our bodies pollute our lakes and wreak havoc on our communities. 

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

So where do we start? How do we even begin to heal our bodies, our spirits, our sacred land? 

We start in our homes. Prescription medications are a common gateway to harder drugs, so properly disposing of unused medications as soon as they are no longer needed can prevent them from being misused, stolen, or ending up in our water and soil. 

“Indigenous communities often lack easy access to drug take-back sites but getting these leftover medications out of our homes is key to preventing misuse. Common disposal methods like flushing and tossing in the trash leaves these drugs in an abusable state, and study after study shows these powerful pharmaceuticals are increasingly present in lakes, streams and soil,” says Jason Sundby, CEO of Verde Environmental Technologies, Inc., creator of the Deterra® Drug Deactivation and Disposal System. “With at-home drug deactivation tools like Deterra, we can help prevent these social and environmental harms before they start.” 

To heal from the trauma of the opioid crisis, we must protect our people and Mother Earth from the devastating impact of prescription drug misuse. Reclaiming our mental, physical and spiritual health starts with everyday actions as simple as having an honest conversation about substance abuse and making sure that drugs intended to relieve pain don’t contribute to more suffering. 

We can restore ourselves and our communities, but we must act now. It is time to heal, for sacred Mother Earth has had enough death. 

Tom Rodgers is an activist and advocate for Native Americans and tribal issues. He is the President of the Global Indigenous People’s Council and Founder/President of Carlyle Consulting.

More Stories Like This

President Biden's Executive Order on Indian Education is a Big Deal
President Biden, We Plead for Our Brother the Wolf
Time to Get Rid of Columbus Day Forever!
Move Over Columbus, Make Way for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Author: Tom Rodgers