Man holding eagle carved out of moose antlers
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Oxycontin addict turns art into pills

Dave Waswa is a talented artist. He is also a drug addict.

He lives in Fort Hope, a small aboriginal reserve in northern Ontario, and uses the proceeds from the art he sells to obtain the prescription drug OxyContin.

The moose antlers he carves into artwork may net him five or six pills - enough to feed his drug habit for about a day.

"It makes everything go away," Dave says about OxyContin. "You've just got to have it...[but] every time I take a pill, I wish I never started."

Dave has been addicted for seven years but is now trying to get clean. However, in Fort Hope, where up to 80% of the working-age population are thought to have a drug problem, the rehab centre only has four beds and there is a long waiting list.

"It makes everything go away," Dave says about OxyContin. "You've just got to have it...[but] every time I take a pill, I wish I never started."

He talks to the BBC's Linda Pressly about his struggles.

Produced by Linda Sills for the BBC

  • 27 Mar 2012