Recovery On The Reservation: Montana Sisters Help Peers Stop Using Drugs

By Nora Saks
Montana Public Radio

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In early 2016, Miranda Kirk and her sister officially launched the “Aaniiih Nakoda Anti-Drug Movement”, a Native American-led peer recovery project.

Montana Public Radio

There’s a narrative about the meth epidemic in Montana that says the state tackled the problem in the 2000s.

Yet it’s back with a vengeance because of super labs and drug cartels in Mexico. Within the Fort Belknap Indian Community, though, it never really went away.

“Getting high in your car in front of the store; that ain’t a big deal,” said Miranda Kirk.

Kirk works on the reservation, which is about 40 miles south of the Canadian border. She said no one even bothers to hide their drug use.

“Leaving your paraphernalia out in the open for someone to walk in, that’s all right. Having and seeing needles everywhere, that’s OK. Even talking about selling your needles, that’s normal too,” Kirk said.

Kirk, 27, is a mother of four. Born and raised in Fort Belknap, home to the Aaniiih and Nakoda tribes, she grew up around drugs, alcohol and addiction.

She struggled with opioids after a miscarriage landed her in the ER and she was discharged with a handful of prescriptions.

But, she said, with the help of her church, she broke that addiction. Now, she works to help others.

According to the Tribal Epidemiology Centers of the Indian Health Service, dependence on methamphetamine and other psychostimulants more than tripled for tribal members in Montana and Wyoming from 2011 to 2015.

“People are saying they’re seeing it as young as third grade because (kids think), ‘Oh, that’s OK, I see that at home, my aunt does this, my mom does this, my dad does this, my grandpa does this.’ So, they can’t see the error in it. Or they don’t see it as a risk,” Kirk said.

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *