More than 100 people gathered in Regina on Friday to take part in a walk with the purpose of raising awareness about the dangers of crystal meth and fentanyl.
Mario Ahenakew, a recovering addict who has been clean for the last six years, travelled to Regina from Saskatoon to share his story.
“Physically, it was a real struggle and an uphill battle,” explained Ahenakew. “I definitely had to change everything, it felt like a new beginning and a new life.”
Ahenakew is now a successful business owner and travels around the province advocating against the use of dangerous drugs.
He hopes his story will help younger generations.
“They can hear the reality of what it (drugs) does and hopefully they can steer clear,” said Ahenakew.
Tanya Ritchotte, the executive liaison for Regina Treaty Status, organized the awareness walk.
She said the drug problem is only getting worse and is starting to affect the younger generation.
“We are trying to focus on the youth and get to them before [they] go down a path,” said Ritchotte. “Help them realize or not realize, but help them become the best person.”
According to Regina Police Chief Evan Bray, 10 per cent of all reported overdoses in the Regina area have resulted in death.
“Those are alarming numbers, when you think about that in a city of our size,” said Bray. “Responding to those calls is really, I think something that causes people to sit up and take notice, and come together as a community.”
Bray added there are a number of challenges involving youth within the city of Regina and said community members play a huge role in providing positive influences.
“Influence our youth, have that positive contact with them on a regular basis,” said Bray. “Show them the challenges that will occur if they take a step in the wrong direction.”
Organizers are hoping the walk can become a yearly tradition.