Pine Ridge Reservation declares a state of emergency

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (KEVN) - Homicides and meth, the link between the two caused the Pine Ridge Reservation to declare a state of emergency.

Sign on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

"Every day it seems like I get more and more reports of the growing epidemic of the methamphetamine use throughout our communities, and as the reports come in, the age number gets younger," said Julian Bear Runner, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

As one of the youngest Oglala Sioux tribal presidents, Bear Runner is requesting the Bureau of Indian Affairs send a drug task force team to assist.

"It's becoming very overwhelming, and it's very overwhelming for our capabilities for what resources and what we have as a tribe, so I felt in order to get ahold of this before it was unreachable, to get a grasp on that, I felt that we needed to, I needed to call in additional support and resources," Bear Runner said.

With 54 tribal police officers covering three million acres, Bear Runner said they are understaffed, and outnumbered.

"It's tough, but I can't do it alone, the more people that we get to come together, even our non-native, our surrounding agencies our surrounding neighbors to come together to help us to make a difference because eventually, it impacts us all," Bear Runner said.

Bear Runner said he won't know how long the state of emergency will last until tribal leaders understand how severe the meth problem is on the reservation.