White Earth Reservation Seeing High Drug Use - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

White Earth Reservation Seeing High Drug Use

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     "Everybody's going down hill. It's like everybody used to be able to trust, but now they're trying to rob you. It's getting really bad around here," says a woman from White Earth Reservation.

     They are dangerous and taking over a community. Prescription pills, heroin and methamphetamine use is on the rise in the White Earth Reservation. The reservation is Minnesota's largest in area and most populated and includes several other communities and the Shooting Star Casino.

     Some are not only concerned but scared and don't know what to do.

     The White Earth Public Safety Director and Chief of Police says the issue of drugs has been in their area for a long time. Certain drugs come in and certain drugs go out, and now the harsher drugs have circulated back in.

     "It's so hard in this environment," says a woman from White Earth Reservation.

     When you're living in fear...

     "You just don't want to leave your house because people are trying to get high. They just want to get in your house, take your PS3, they'll take any little thing they can just to get a fix," says a woman from White Earth Reservation.

     Just speaking out can be dangerous. This woman from White Earth asked us to hide her identity, because she wants change, but is afraid.

     "Nothing really to do but do drugs. That's pretty much rez life," says the woman.

     White Earth Public Safety Director and Chief of Police, Randy Goodwin, says, "And along with the drug issue, guess what come with it. Some of the gangs."

     We spoke to a number of people at this gas station and almost all of them knew someone who has been affected by these issues, but many of them are afraid to talk about it.

     Goodwin says, "You name it, methamphetamine, pills, heroin. We're just losing too many of our family members." He adds that the use of methamphetamine and heroin is getting out of control, and the violence that comes with that is also high.

     "It's real hard, if not impossible to sort of try and fix the problem," says Goodwin. But he adds that change is coming. The police station is adding more officers on staff to help stop this problem, and people within the community are starting to talk about it. But like the woman we talked to, many are unsure what to do.

     "Just wish I could see my people going back to our cultural ways than drugs. We should be going to more pow wows, but instead their going out, getting drunk, snorting heroin and shooting up," says the woman.

     Over the next few days, Goodwin and other safety officials on the reservation will get together to develop a program that they hope will decrease the drug use. They say they know it will be difficult, and may take a very long time, but something has to be done to save their community. Some of the other crime they've seen that is related with these drugs is burglaries, violence, gang activity and tagging.


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