Tribal leader says pandemic has increased drug abuse

Tribal leader says pandemic has increased drug abuse

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A tribal leader says Native Americans in Wisconsin are struggling to overcome increased drug abuse related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the annual State of the Tribes address to Assembly lawmakers at the Capitol Tuesday afternoon, Lac du Flambeau President John Johnson Sr. says increased drug abuse has claimed those most vulnerable during the public health crisis.

Johnson says the flow of illegal drugs into the Northwoods has escalated during the pandemic, as mental health, economic and social challenges exert growing pressure on Wisconsin's American Indians.

Johnson also says tribes continue to face harassment and racism as they defend their federal treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather.

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