Sask. woman calls for more addictions supports after losing 2 family members to fentanyl

Laureen Pelletier-Wesaquate will on occasion suppose she has stuck a glimpse of her son pedalling his motorcycle in Regina and feels a surge of happiness. Then her stomach sinks and her center breaks again, as she realizes it was most effective her mind enjoying methods.

Her son, Clinton Hotomanie Jr., died from a fentanyl overdose on Feb. 11, 2021.

“I assume that’s him, then I understand that, he’s gone.”

Pelletier-Wesaquate’s grief remains heavy. it’s also complicated via further loss. As she used to be trying to procedure her son’s loss of life, she received a call from police. They stated her oldest granddaughter Nikkia Sugar died on Feb. 15, 2021, just days earlier than her 16th birthday — additionally from fentanyl. 

“to search out out they have been long gone, it was once just in reality devastating,” she mentioned, speaking from her house at Piapot First Nation, Sask. “Losing children, particularly to that poor demon of fentanyl, is actually exhausting.” 

Pelletier-Wesaquate is part of the growing group of Saskatchewan oldsters grieving on account of fentanyl.  at least A HUNDRED AND SEVENTY other people died accidentally from fentanyl and 135 from acetyl-fentany in 2021, consistent with the province’s Coroners Carrier.

She by no means wants every other parent to revel in the pain she has undergone. She’s leaned on prayer to paintings thru this, however it is still laborious for her not to turn into crushed with raw emotion when she talks approximately it. 

the hardest phase is looking to console her past due son’s 8-year-old daughter, who she is elevating. 

“i believe so helpless while she cries for him,” she said. “I inform her, her dad’s long past to heaven. She says ‘well, kokum how can i get to heaven? i need to head see my dad.'”

Laureen Pelletier-Wesaquate lost each her son and her granddaughter to fentanyl just about 12 months in the past. (Submitted by Laureen Pelletier-Wesaquate)

Addictions fuelled by way of trauma

Pelletier said she knows dozens of individuals suffering from fentanyl because the drug spreads further thru the province. 

“a lot of them are lost on account of broken homes​,” she mentioned, including it sort of feels to be other people trying to cope with prior complication who are turning to medication.

“no one who’s an addict wants to be an addict. it is not a life that someone chooses,” Elizabeth Plishka stated. Plishka is the director of give a boost to services at Prairie Hurt Reduction, which operates the province’s first supervised consumption site for folks residing with addictions in Saskatoon.

File collection of Sask. other people died from drug toxicity in 2021

Plishka stated their clients living with dependancy are often coping with other complications like intergenerational trauma, poverty or homelessness. 

“it is a reaction to trauma and they’re trying to numb that.”

Pelletier-Wesaquate can trace the strains of trauma via generations of her family, from her dad who used to be shaped by way of abuse at residential college, to her past due granddaughter who grew up in and out of the foster care machine. 

She additionally faced her own addictions in adulthood. 

“I put my children thru so much as a result of my addictions. I wasn’t a fair determine and i didn’t know the way to be a fair determine,” she said. “I’m seeking to change that with my granddaughter. I tell her i like her​ ​on a regular basis. i beg her.” 

Sask. woman calls for more addictions supports after losing 2 family members to fentanyl

Laureen Pelletier-Wesaquate is trying to get started a new trail ahead for her circle of relatives together with her son’s daughter, who she is raising. She has large dreams for the eight-12 months-vintage girl. (Matt Howard/CBC)

Calls For change 

Past breaking cycles inside her own family, Pelletier-Wesaquate desires extra done for individuals living with addictions in Saskatchewan. She desires to lift awareness about the risks of fentanyl, but additionally about the want for more supports. 

Pelletier-Wesaquate wants a supervised consumption web page established in North Valuable Regina, so people dwelling with addictions within the area can keep alive till they’re ready to heal.

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There May Be one reasonably new overdose prevention site working just about downtown at the Newo Yotina Friendship Centre, which only recently secured sufficient cash to enlarge its products and services to the weekends.

in step with records from Regina police, approximately SIXTY FIVE consistent with cent of the overdoses in 2021 befell within the “primary” a part of town. They documented ONE HUNDRED SIXTY fatal drug overdoses in Regina last year (up from 21 deaths in 2019 and 111 in 2020). City police have been acutely aware of 1,800 overdoses in 2021 — several each day — however the police leader said the quantity is probably going so much upper as many non-fatal overdoses go unreported.

Construction relationships

Pelletier-Wesaquate wonders if a supervised intake web site might need stored her son’s lifestyles. She stated his spirit gave the impression to slip away, masked by way of the habit.

“Earlier Than the medicine took over he was always laughing,” she said. “He used to be all the time happy and guffawing around and teasing, and he loved his little girl such a lot.” 

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She mentioned a supervised consumption web page could offer other folks like her son a secure position to head  — not just to use medicine, however to access fundamental comforts like a scorching cup of espresso or a supportive ear. 

“They’re stuck in this unsightly international of fentanyl and so they do not see no method ou​t,” she mentioned. “they’ve been kicked round for therefore lengthy because they do medicine and regarded down upon.” 

Plishka mentioned a key function of the supervised consumption website in Saskatoon is to build relationships and consider with the folk who use it. 

“Substance use may also be a lifelong combat for some, and so we’re capable of support folks long run in a non-judgmental method,” they said. “Whilst somebody like us is capable of say, ‘we do not see your substance use as an ethical factor,’ then they’re actually able to open up.” 

Deadly overdoses preventable

The Saskatoon site has been used hundreds of occasions, but there has now not been a unmarried fatal overdose. 

“Laced elements is a reality. but when individuals are skilled, when they have access to products and services, when they have get right of entry to to Naloxone, then every single overdose loss of life is preventable,” Plishka mentioned. 

Saskatchewan’s overdose numbers were trending up over the ultimate a number of years, but 2021 was the worst on file via a long way. Initial data presentations 442 people died from or are suspected to have died from overdose in 2021. the craze seems to be proceeding, as FORTY NINE persons are believed to have died by drugs in the first month of 2022. 

Plishka said organizations like PHR are restricted in their talent to assist extra folks because they are under-funded in Saskatchewan. ​

​”I​f we had sustainable, dependable funding and we handiest needed to pay attention to service provision, then we might be in a position to do such a lot more​.”

Pelletier-Wesaquate believes that the kindness offered to other folks through harm-relief-targeted centres is important in helping individuals who, like her son and granddaughter, are stuck in a sophisticated internet of trauma. 

“Now And Again they need to peer there is hope.” 

Sask. woman calls for more addictions supports after losing 2 family members to fentanyl

Saskatchewan’s deadliest opioids

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Duration 1:FIFTY FIVE

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