Bringing awareness and discussing solutions for fentanyl is the Tribal Fentanyl Summit


The K’ima:w Medical Center held the Tribal Fentanyl Summit this morning in Blue Lake Casino to discuss what people are doing to raise awareness about the fentanyl crisis and create action-based solutions for their communities.

“Every 11 minutes somebody dies from a fentanyl overdose in native country,” said Judith Surber, the event host. “We’ve been hit very hard and so it’s bringing people from all different pieces of the puzzle to work on different parts or do different things in the field and sharing and building network, building collaboration.”

Organizers brought people from all over the country to share various solutions to the fentanyl crisis. The Tribal Fentanyl Summit includes mental health workers, doctors, artists and musicians. They say everyone needs to have an open mind because there’s “not a one-size-fits-all” solution.

“Our ultimate goal is to reduce overdose deaths,” said Julia Hostler, the Grants Compliance Officer at K’ima:w Medical Center. “I think we’ve all been affected personally by an overdose in our immediate family. So it’s our goal to reduce, to have one less person die. I mean, that’s ultimately if we reach that through this, we’re doing a lot.”

Organizers say living in a rural area makes fighting the fentanyl crisis even tougher.

“We don’t have the same access to treatment,” Surber said. “We have to send people out to go to rehab. We don’t think it is right in our area. So I think these kinds of events help us all to build resources and network together so that we have more options for people.”

By raising awareness of harm and drug reduction they hope to reduce stigmas and find treatment options for everyone. The Tribal Fentanyl Summit continues tomorrow for its last day in Blue Lake Casino. This is a free event and open to the public.