Whatever it may be called, including smack, horse, brown sugar, or Mexican mud, heroin is claiming lives and wrecking American Indian families across Minnesota, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. across the state and nation. Clyde Bellecourt, 79, is a community spiritual elder and co-founder of the influential American Indian Movement. He mentioned one recent victim, a 34-year-old mother of three. The oldest, 12, found her dead when he returned from school. Bellecourt presided over the burial, as he has done on numerous occasions. Aida Strom is the American Indian patient advocate at Hennepin County Medical Center. She has fielded a flood of calls from neonatal physicians and gynecologists about an alarming number of infants born with heroin or opiate dependency issues. Along with meth, heroin is sadly “the perfect drug for a disenfranchised community with historical rape and trauma issues,” said Strom.
Walter Lamar, a former FBI agent who runs a Washington, D.C.-based law enforcement and training concern that focuses on Indian communities and reservations, predicted more than two years ago in an Indian Country Today article that heroin would become a major problem. He hated to be proved right. He said Mexican drug cartels and other dope pushers targeted reservations because of less competition, a steady supply of customers and lack of tribal law enforcement resources to deal with interdiction. “It started out with prescription painkiller abuse because opiates are an easy gateway to heroin,” said Lamar, who also served as deputy director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Law Enforcement.