This program works with regional and local partners to reduce substance abuse and dependencies, and thereby contribute to the well-being of Cree individuals, families, and communities. Its primary objectives are
1. To prevent and/or delay the age of first use of drugs and alcohol for all Cree youth.
2. To foster and support a transition to a healthy lifestyles free of substance abuse, with a primary focus on youth and young parents.
Why this program?
Recent studies suggest that the addictions picture in Eeyou Istchee is rapidly deteriorating:
- The average age for first use of substances is 11-12; and in the past five years, we have seen more and more instances in which children as young as eight or nine are using substances.
- Nearly half of youth age 12-17 drink regularly, and drinking rates peak at ages 18-29. Teenagers, the largest group in Eeyou Istchee’s population, binge drink more often than older people.
- A third of youth age 12-17 regularly use marijuana.
- Because different types of addiction tend to go together, we also anticipate an increase in problem gambling.
These statistics point to an alarming situation that in the near future could damage individual health, family functioning, and our collective well-being.
Short description of program
The program operates under the framework of Health Canada’s First Nations Addiction program, and a regional strategy prepared by the Cree Regional Working Group on Addiction. Its activities include
- Developing, maintaining and strengthening parenting programs
- Working to ensure that the school curriculum includes a component on dependencies and prevention of substance abuse
- Supporting and working with the Cree Dependencies Recovery Program (treatment)
- Developing a multimedia communications plan to raise awareness about a healthy Cree lifestyle and a holistic approach to tackling dependencies
- Working in partnership with other agencies, through the Regional Working Group on Dependencies.
The program is new, so it is presently developing training programs for the workers in the communities.
The program focuses on youth and young parents.
Who delivers the program
The program comes under the Uschiniichisuu umbrella. Implementation will vary with community needs, and may involve the NNADAP team, the community wellness division, or other partners. At the regional level, activities are coordinated by: