New Brunswick First Nations set to banish drug dealers following overdose death

There is a growing movement on New Brunswick's First Nations to banish drug dealers, as mourners said farewell this week to a woman who died of a drug overdose.

Leo Bartibogue, an addictions counsellor, says there are 30 to 40 drug dealers in his community of Esgenoopetitj, in northeastern New Brunswick, and it's hard for people to quit when there's an ample supply of drugs at every turn.

Bartibogue attended the 35-year-old woman's funeral on Monday and says it's suspected she may have taken fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid drug that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Police say while an autopsy confirmed an overdose, they have yet to confirm the drug, and are awaiting test results from Health Canada.

Bartibogue says the band council has suggested a resolution to ban drug-trafficking, as the Elsipogtog and Tobique First Nations have done, and he's in full support.

Tobique Chief Ross Perley says, under the banishment resolution passed last week, anyone charged with drug trafficking would be cut off from all band services and benefits such as employment, social assistance, housing and royalties.

He says something had to be done to curb the drug trade.