Indigenous-Informed Addiction Recovery Remedies in Alberta

Alberta’s First Nations Seeking Indigenous-Informed Addiction Recovery Remedies

The Canadian opioid crisis continues to unfold, leaving a devastating toll on people from all walks of life. For the Indigenous communities in Alberta, the crisis isn’t just a public health issue but a cultural one too. Our discussion today revolves around a recent article that highlights these communities’ call for Indigenous-informed solutions, rather than simply promoting “safer supply” measures.

The Opioid Crisis in Indigenous Communities

The opioid crisis has disproportionately impacted Canada’s Indigenous groups, with Alberta’s First Nations communities being no exception. Beyond the usual health concerns, the crisis has uprooted social norms and reinvented the face of these communities. Increased substance abuse has led to a rise in social issues such as homelessness and crime, further destabilizing an already strained social fabric. Despite these challenges, there’s a largely untapped source of hope and recovery—diving deep into the roots of Indigenous culture and community.

Indigenous-Informed Addiction Recovery

Rather than just providing safer opioid substitutes, Indigenous communities across Alberta are striving to equip individuals with the tools to step away from a life of addiction. They’re opting for a unique approach that integrates cultural practices and traditional healing modalities as key components of addiction recovery. There’s a belief that by centering treatment on the holistic wellness of an individual, it increases the chances for sustained recovery.

Commitment to Addressing the Crisis

Alberta’s First Nations communities have shown a consistent commitment to overcoming the opioid problem. Among their efforts is the proposed opioid class action that targets pharmaceutical organizations. Their dedication reflects a larger trend in Canada to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for negligent, harmful actions associated with opioid distribution. They aim to redirect the funds collected from these lawsuits back to their communities to fund various relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • The opioid crisis disproportionally affects Indigenous communities, with severe ramifications on social structures, including increases in crime and homelessness.
  • Alberta’s First Nations are promoting Indigenous-informed addiction recovery over the traditional “safer supply” approach.
  • Traditional healing practices play a key role in their alternative addiction treatment strategy, emphasizing the holistic wellness of individuals.
  • The communities remain committed to fighting the opioid crisis through not only grassroots efforts but also judicial actions—the opioid class action.
  • They are advocating for the redirection of funds from class action lawsuits back to their communities to support rehabilitation endeavors.


The opioid crisis continues to wage war on the health and social systems of communities across Canada. However, Alberta’s First Nation peoples are taking a stand, centering recovery efforts on an individual’s holistic wellbeing rather than just provisioning a safer opioid supply. This approach, rooted deeply in traditional practices, is a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of these communities. The opioid crisis, while deeply tragic, perhaps has a sliver of hope, as communities look beyond traditional solutions to combat it.

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