Alcoholism And Gas Sniffing Leads To Death

In the early 1970’s alcoholism had become a leading cause of death among Alaska Natives. 80 % of all Alaska Native deaths were related to alcohol abuse or alcoholism.  There were more avoidable accidents, murders, assault, psychological depression, and sex crimes while under the influence. Addiction and alcohol abuse stats for Native American have demonstrated it is linked to physical injury, police calls and child neglect and abuse.

The suicide rate for these’s people is 4x the national average. Almost 7 out of 10 people.  Alcohol and drug abuse is the problem with in family’s and communities. It isn’t just harming yourself, it is affecting all tribal members who care for you, or see you once in a while.

Federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says ” 11.7% of total deaths among American Indians and Alaska natives between 2001 – 2005, were alcohol-related. Compared with 3.3 % for the U.S general population.

In the Isolated Labrador Community of Sheshatshiu, located is a Detox Centre. They received 14 children who arrived reeking of gasoline fumes they inhaled. On November 15th, Paul Rich, band Chief, pleaded with the Newfoundland and Labrador government to step in and take 39 gasoline-addicted children.  The children were as young as 8 years old. The next week, the government authorized social services workers to remove 19 of the hardest cases for treatment.

Across from the detox, there is a cemetery where 10-year-old Charles Rich died while sniffing gas. On October 27th two grandparents perished with 3 grandchildren in an alcohol related house fire. Death by natural causes in this community were rare.

After a rash of teen suicides in the summer of 1999, the band council banned alcohol and drugs from the community. While the band was being put in place, many residents were threatening to sue the council for violating their human rights. The band was then never put into effect.

There are many community’s like the couple i talk about and they need help. You think you have a hard or horrible life, but what theses children go through in a day you might not be able to experience it in your whole life. Dont take things for granted. Help others, and help yourself!



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