MENOMINEE (NBC 26) — Across the Menominee Reservation, officials say an already alarming drug crisis is only continuing to grow.
Tribal leaders held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss ways to combat the substance abuse.
"Why are we not focusing on our addicts. Why did it take this long to get a meeting like this. It makes no sense. How many more people need to die?" said one tribal member as she addressed the room.
One by one, members of the tribe had the opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns.
"An 11-year-old girl so high, she couldn't even sit still. She was spitting. She was moving all over. I had to walk out of the house and throw up. That’s how bad it is in this community. So many people want to sit behind Facebook, and sit on a post, and say we need to do this and we need to do that. Well, you know what? We all need to it, because I can’t do it," said another tribal member.
The Menominee tribe recently updated its current drug ordinance to include banishment from the reservation as a possible punishment for distributing or selling illegal drugs. Anyone involved in distributing or selling illegal drugs could face banishment for one year for their first offense and two years for their second offense. After their third offense, they could be banished for life. Those who distributed drugs that caused an overdose death will also face lifetime banishment.
One tribal member said she's worried that banishing members would directly impact the children of the reservation.
"They get banished, their kids are CPS, back and forth. What happens to the kids next? Is there going to be a home here to take them kids back to the community and to help the parents with their struggle to survive them?" said Rose Schanadore, a tribal member.
Another man part of the Meonminee Tribal EMS said illicit drugs are hurting their community the most.
"It's not just the meth: It's the heroin, it's the fentaynl that's killing people,” said Nick Uttecht.
Tribal members will come together again in about a month for an addiction education forum.