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Leech Lake council declares emergency

CASS LAKE — The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Council unanimously passed a resolution on Monday, declaring a public health emergency with respect to prescription medication and illegal drug abuse.

“Prescription medication is a highly addictive substance that affects all generations,” Chairman Arthur “Archie” LaRose said. “This problem needs to be addressed because addiction rates are increasing.”

A highlight of the proclamation states: The Leech Lake Tribal Council hereby declares a Public Health Emergency on the Leech Lake Reservation as a direct result of the abuse by tribal members of prescription medication and illegal drugs and the impact these drugs have had on our reservation and on our families.

According to Leech Lake A&D Program approximately 80 percent of the substance abuse problems on Leech Lake are due to opiate addiction. The A&D program also reports that heroin is making a comeback on the reservation.

To counteract the devastation caused by prescription drug abuse, the council directed all tribal agencies, departments, and entities to make the public health emergency their top priority by collaboratively using their resources in developing solutions to the massive and complex problems caused by prescription drug abuse and the abuse of other illegal drugs.