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'We're running out of carpet to brush this under': 2nd annual smudge walk highlights overdose crisis in Sask.


Regina’s downtown was filled with demonstrators Saturday afternoon during the city’s second annual smudge walk.

Those who have lost loved ones and friends to drug overdoses marched down Regina's streets, in an act of remembrance as well as a reminder of the crisis Saskatchewan is facing.

“Kenton is my brother. He overdosed at the age of 41,” Stewart Malley told CTV News. Malley held a card bearing his brother’s name as he marched with dozens of other demonstrators.

Last year, there was a record 421 confirmed and suspected drug overdose deaths in Saskatchewan.

The tragic figure has left many families across the province to grieve.

“I lost a child last year, my oldest daughter died to this lifestyle. It still bothers me today,” Rod Belanger told a crowd of demonstrators during the march.

Those in Saskatchewan’s First Nations communities say they have been especially hard hit.

“Drugs has taken our people at an alarming rate. It’s not only a Regina problem,” Chief Evan Taypotat of Kahkewistahaw First Nation explained.

Many Indigenous people point to marginalization and impacts of colonization as contributing factors to the rate of overdose deaths.

“A lot of that intergenerational trauma and this is the end result, when these young guys, they go to the spirit world,” Ray Watson, a smudge walk participant, told CTV News.

Over one hundred people took part in this year’s smudge walk and feast in memory of those lost to drug overdoses.

“We’re running out of carpet to brush this under,” Shylo Stevenson, a spokesperson for Warriors of Hope said.

“The more that we can engage and invest into our future with education and sharing our traumas and healing from our traumas the better our world will be.”

Organizers expect next year’s march to be even larger. Not because more people will be succumbing to overdoses, but due to more and more people joining the call for preventative measures. Top Stories

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