Substance Abuse In Residential Schools

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“…[C]hewing tobacco, red pepper, soap, molasses, and red ink…” were the main ingredients in the whiskey that early fur traders introduced to Aboriginal individuals with whom they were doing business with (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC], 2001, para. 5). Unfortunately, this horrendous concoction proved to be highly addictive, placing the Aboriginals who consumed it at significant risk for exploitation, and subsequently addiction. Further, events such as forced assimilation through residential schools resulted in many Aboriginal individuals being separated from their families, further, from their culture, which undoubtedly deprived them of their identity. Thus, it could be argued that tragedies such as residential school only served …show more content…
15). There is no doubt that the horrors that resulted from being forced to attend residential schools has resulted in many Aboriginal individuals turning to substances to try to alleviate their suffering. Thus, high rates of substance abuse within Aboriginal communities have become generational in nature, that is, that they have been inadvertently inherited (Smillie-Adjarkwa, 2009). With this in mind, it seems ostensive that generation after generation bears the burden of substance abuse, moreover, the emotional toll that accompanies it. This not to say that substance abuse such as alcoholism is inherited; rather, the effects of one’s past traumas are passed down from generation to …show more content…
22). As such, it could be argued that in essence, many Aboriginal children have learned to use alcohol and other substances in order to cope with issues in their lives. Consequently, extremely high numbers of Aboriginal children are now struggling with addiction. In fact, one reserve in Ontario saw “…25 per cent of children five to fifteen years of age” sniffing gasoline, most of who came from homes where the parents struggled with alcohol abuse (Waldram et al., 2006, p. 109). In addition to becoming addicts themselves, it is noted that these children are at a significantly increased risk for being abused or neglected by their parents or others (Council on Drug Abuse, 2011). As a result, these children begin to develop “…low-self esteem, depression, [and] self-mutilation”, further increasing the likelihood of the child turning to substances to survive (Council on Drug Abuse, 2011, para. 4). Thus, it could be argued that the intergenerational impacts of substance abuse foster a sense of hopelessness within Aboriginal communities, ultimately resulting in remarkably high rates of suicide among their youth (Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2003). As such, this writer would assert that being exposed to substance abuse; moreover, suffering from impaired mental health that may emerge as a result, a vicious cycle of addiction seems

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