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Tag: Opioid Crisis

Brock Ramias, wearing his trademark number 23 yellow and green LCI Rams jersey in 2011.

#LiveLike23 football tournament carries a legacy

Many young men have a passion for football, and a love of the game and all it entails becomes part of who they are. This was the case for Brock Ramias.

As a student at Lethbridge Collegiate Institute, Brock stood out for his prowess on the field, his leadership, and his support of his teammates.

From the LCI Rams, he went on to play for the Calgary Colts, primarily as a running back or defensive back. He played both sides of the ball and on specialty teams.

Brock’s jersey number was 23.

His football family was very important to him and some of his best friendships were forged on the field. He was known for his hard work, competitive drive and sportsmanship. He left everything out on the field every time he played and he was always working to be better. While Brock worked at a number of jobs, his life’s occupation was football.

These words are from Brock’s obituary. He died Oct. 18, 2015, at the age of 20.

“His superpower really was relationships,” says Brock’s mom, La Vonne Rideout.

She and Brock’s grandparents, Tom and Carol Ferguson, are well known for their community service in Pincher Creek.

 

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Sharing laughs and memories over a day of football and a Mexican fiesta has become a way to celebrate a young man who made a difference in the lives of many.

Funds raised after his death created a base for the Brock Ramias Citizen Athlete Scholarship.

The $1,000 bursary is presented annually to an LCI student who shares Brock’s undying passion for their game, his kindness and determination to positively face challenges and influence others, and who values the importance of relationships with friends, family and all individuals.

“Brock was so committed and passionate about doing well, he really put all of his energies and efforts into being his best and helping those around him be their best,” says La Vonne.

“He recognized that most sports are not individual; when every member of a team does well, the whole team thrives.”

She loves the idea of a scholarship in Brock’s name. It is awarded to students who care about doing their best while helping everyone around them thrive and be the best they can be.

In 2016, the family asked people to do random acts of kindness, which led to a friendly football scrimmage. The next year, the family began hosting the Brock Ramias Memorial Flag Football Tournament, with proceeds raised to support the scholarship fund.

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta

 

From an adults-only game — people who played with or knew Brock and his brothers — the tournament has grown to three divisions.

Last Sunday, six adult, six bantam and two peewee teams came together for a day where the gathering of people, both players and spectators, and a motto of #LiveLike23 was as important as the game.

Cougars teams, with players mostly associated with Catholic Central High, took the top spot in all three divisions this year.

The event is like a family reunion where the family keeps growing and all are welcome.

La Vonne says it’s a labour of love for her oldest son, Brett.

“He is the one who spearheads the tournament and I try to be the best sidekick I can be.”

Family members come from all over the province and friends pitch in as well. Donations and sponsorships are beyond what La Vonne thought would ever be possible.

“I can’t thank them enough for holding Brock in their memories and hearts,” she says. “It’s not just the game, it captures the essence of a big part of who he was.”

La Vonne believes more people are understanding the “why” behind the event as it grows — the importance of relationships and of eliminating the stigma around opioid addiction.

While carrying Brock’s legacy forward, La Vonne encourages people to find something they love and do it well.

 

 

Shown at the Brock Ramias Memorial Flag Football Tournament are Pincher Creek players Ben Poloni and Will Schoening. Also donning blue Mustangs jerseys for the Sunday games at the Servus Sports Centre in Lethbridge were Brady Bonertz, Boston LeJan, Cody Querengesser, Rigdon Perry, Austin Norris, Layton Bailey and Keaton Tipple. They won the first game against the Coaldale Spartans but took a loss to the Cougars after being tied for much of the game.

 

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Piikani RCMP arrest five on drug charges

Piikani Nation RCMP arrested five people Tuesday in the Brocket townsite.

Four females and one male are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking — Schedule I: Methamphetamine (and analogues), and one of the females was also charged under the trespassing act.

RCMP encourage residents to continue reporting drug dealers and information about other illegal activity by contacting the Piikani Nation detachment at 403-965-3300.

Tips can also be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477, through the P3 Tips app (available from Google Play or the Apple Store), or online at p3tips.com. Your anonymity is protected and you may be eligible for a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest.

If you witness a crime in progress or an emergency, call 911.

 

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Piikani woman arrested, cocaine trafficking charge laid

Piikani Nation RCMP arrested an unnamed 24-year-old female following a Jan. 8 search of a home in Brocket. RCMP executed the search warrant after receiving several anonymous tips through the Crime Stoppers program.

Found in the residence were ½ ounce of suspected crack cocaine, multiple unconfirmed prescription medications and drug paraphernalia.

A charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking in a controlled substance has been laid relating to the cocaine.

The woman was released on her own undertaking and will make her first court appearance Mar. 7 in Pincher Creek.

A local state of emergency was declared on Jan. 2 by the Piikani chief and council in response to the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis.

Anyone with information regarding drug activity or any other crime can phone Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Information and tips can also be sent online at P3Tips.com or by cellphone using the P3 Tips app.

 

 

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Piikani Nation logo of buffalo on drum with feathers, on red background

Three Piikani Nation members lost to apparent drug overdoses

RCMP on the Piikani Nation are looking into the deaths of three women, between the ages of 30 and 60, believed to have died from fentanyl overdoses.

Few details have been released but Alberta RCMP public information officer Troy Savinkoff confirmed to Shootin’ the Breeze that the women were found deceased in separate instances on Dec. 25, 27 and 29.

While the deaths show signs of drug overdose, Savinkoff added, the final determination will be made by the medical examiner assigned to the case.

Piikani RCMP issued a warning Dec. 27, shared by Piikani Tsi Nii Ka Sin, of a “bad batch of drugs” in circulation in the area after the second death, adding that narcan administration did not appear to be successful.

On Tuesday, Chief Troy Knowlton and Piikani Nation council enacted a state of emergency for the community. Under the Federal Emergencies Act, Knowlton said it will allow measures to prevent drug use, improve emergency treatment and provide additional resources to agencies dealing with both drug abuse and its side effects.

 

 

The chief opened a Jan. 3 statement by saying, “The situation affecting our nation is not unique to us. Drugs, especially opioids and fentanyl, may prove to be the public policy challenge of the century, affecting every community from coast to coast. However, in a tight-knit community like ours, the impacts of drugs, especially addiction and, tragically, death, particularly among our youth, reverberate pain throughout our entire nation.”

Acknowledging that Piikani Nation is facing a long-term and complicated issue, the chief and council plan to take action by working with local RCMP to crack down on gangs and drug traffickers with augmented law-enforcement measures to tackle the source of the problem.

“It is my goal, and the goal of my council, to bring an end to or at least significantly reduce the availability of drugs,” Knowlton said, “and to prevent deaths among those who have had their lives ensnared by drugs.”

His words come just days after a Dec. 27 Alberta RCMP report stated that officers responded to over 100 per cent more drug overdoses provincewide from January to November 2023 than in all of 2022 — with fentanyl at the centre of most of the fatalities.

The RCMP statistics also revealed a nearly 25 per cent climb in naloxone deployments by its members in 2023 compared to the year prior. 

An even more alarming figure: 1,262 opioid-related deaths occurred in Alberta from January to August of last year, 255 higher than in the same period of 2022.

 

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