White Earth issues alert after 2 non-fatal overdoses

White Earth building.jpg
White Earth Tribal Headquarters. (Tribune photo by Nathan Bowe)

After two non-fatal overdoses in 24 hours on the reservation, the White Earth Police Department put out an “overdose alert” May 1 on the tribal Facebook page.

“Normally when something like that happens, we put up an alert,” said White Earth Public Safety Director Mike LaRoque.

He said the White Earth Harm Reduction Coalition put together the Overdose Alert message, with white type on an orange background, which reads: “Increased Overdose Activity reported, please look out for each other.”

The alert urges narcotics users not to use alone, and to make a plan to have someone check on them if they do use alone.

It recommends staggering use with friends “so someone can respond if needed,” and to test substances “by using small amounts first and go slowly.” It also urges people not to combine hard drugs with alcohol or other drugs. Heroin and meth are the two illegal hard drugs that see the most use on the reservation, LaRoque has said in the past.


The reservation has taken a proactive, multi-pronged approach to the drug problem, going after large-scale sellers while aiming to help users by widely distributing the overdose antidote naloxone (Narcan) and making treatment available and culturally relevant.

If someone overdoses, the alert says “don’t run -- call 911,” then open the victim’s airways and give breaths, and give Narcan if it’s available.

The overdoses do not appear to have been caused “by any bad stuff going around,” LaRoque said. If that were the case, the tribal Harm Reduction team and community service officer would respond to let people know about it, and to provide Narcan and other support where needed, LaRoque said.

On the COVID-19 front, he said White Earth is providing some food distribution and delivery of prescription medicine to elders in the community. Check the White Earth website and Facebook page for more information.

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