OHSWEKEN – Six Nations Elected Council has decided it will not be supporting the dispensing of methadone and suboxone through Ancestral Voices Healing Centre in the Ohsweken Village Plaza.
Gail Whitlow, owner of Ancestral Voices and Shaab Syed, a licensed pharmacist, have been seeking council’s approval for the past few months. Whitlow designated space in the back of her business where the drugs would have been available.
We spoke with Whitlow Wednesday afternoon and she said that she does not have an official statement prepared yet, but that she “is a Haudenosaunee women, so Ontario law does not apply to her.”
The elected chief and council considered concerns from community members and tenants of the Iroquois Plaza when making their decision. They also considered the ownership requirements of the Ontario Drug and Pharmacies Regulations Act.
Elected council understands that addictions are an ever-growing concern on Six Nations and elected council is diligently working to expand services to meet the current needs of those within the community.
Six Nations Health Services has been researching the link between pain and addictions (physical and emotional) for several years. Recommendations from this project included an expansion of services to the community that range from traditional to medical based interventions, alternative therapies, counselling for addictions and mental health issues, as well as options for methadone and suboxone treatments.
With the best interests of the community at heart, Health Services is currently developing plans to expand addictions services and mental health to address the recommendations arising from their research.
Another key element in meeting the needs of the community will be to explore resources that would make finding transportation to addictions services simpler then the services already in place.
The focus of the service will be for those actively seeking interventions, treatments and ongoing counselling and support with the goal of achieving a substance-free life.