A Quebec Human Rights Commission report says that more than half of Nunavik’s children live in homes that house an alcoholic or a drug addict.
The study found that family dysfunction is widespread and is exacerbated by overcrowding, substance abuse and violence. Some children in the 139 cases examined have been referred to youth protection as often as 16 times but received no follow up because parents wouldn’t cooperate or they were related to agency workers. As a result, many turn to alcohol and drugs. As many as one in 10 teens were known to consume cocaine and/or inhale solvents.
The Quebec government expressed alarm, saying it’s important to recognize the extent of the problem and to have more open dialogue with the Inuit community. Benoit Pelletier, the Quebec minister in charge of Aboriginal affairs, stated, “I will be asking for their cooperation in order that the government of Quebec could intervene efficiently, in order to solve the situation in collaboration with the Inuit.”
Pelletier went on to say that the Quebec government is already planning an August forum with the Inuit communities.