A two-day forum on opioid and crystal meth use wrapped up in Prince Albert on Thursday.

The forum, hosted by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, looked at ways to develop a prevention strategy for Saskatchewan First Nations struggling with how to address the issue.

Carol Hopkins is the executive director of Thunderbird Partnership Foundation which helped to coordinate the gathering.

She said the organization has learned a couple of things from hosting similar forums in the past.

“Culture has to be central to the way that we do things,” Hopkins said. “Also said that we’re never going to get healing for families and communities by only focusing on individuals.”

Hopkins added First Nations communities face a number of unique challenges when it comes to fighting drug use.

“So, for example, methadone was the policy and the only line of treatment,” she said. “Well, if you live in a remote and isolated community, it doesn’t isolate and protect you from opioids getting into the community but it does remove access to treatment.”

Based on feedback provided at the forum, Thunderbird will draft a Saskatchewan First Nations opioid and crystal meth prevention strategy.

The forum took place at Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre.

(PHOTO: Courtesy Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Facebook page.)