Warning bells have sounded over the “high volume of drugs” in the community.
Amphetamines are said to be a particular problem in Maple Creek, and the rest of Canada, because of affordability.
Now efforts are being made to tackle the issue through a partnership between the Town of Maple Creek, the RCMP, and the Nekaneet First Nation.
Maple Creek’s drug dilemma came under a critical spotlight at last Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.
Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor, said she had recently had her eyes opened to what was happening.
“To listen to some of the stuff that is going on, I just shook my head,” she said. “I didn’t realize it was that bad.”
She said she wanted the community to be alert to the issue and ready to sound the alarm.
Councillor Cara Teichroeb said a meeting had been held with the Nekaneet on the drug strategic task force.
“There is great concern about amphetamines in the community, as well as right across Canada,” she said.
The drugs issue was raised when Corporal Doug Lachapelle, from the RCMP Detachment, appeared at Council to deliver the quarterly statistics for April-July, 2021.
Councillor Teichroeb said drugs seemed to be an increasing problem in the area.
“We are seeing it in the neighbourhoods where it becomes a break and enter issue,” she said. “People who are experiencing addiction need money.”
She added that as a Councillor she felt her hands were tied, and wondered at what point should she reach out to the RCMP.
Cpl. Lachapelle said the RCMP depended on public help. Anyone who sees something that doesn’t seem right should raise the alarm, he said. What they see could provide vital information for a police investigation.
“Amphetamines are running rampant across Canada,” he said. “They are so cheap.”
He said that parents should be communicating with their children on the issue.
McKenzie said the community needed to be aware about a high volume of drugs in the community.
She added that the Town and the RCMP had a key role in educating people about drugs.
“I’m looking forward to working closely with RCMP to educate our citizens on what is happening, and what signs to look for.”
Speaking later during the portion of the meeting called “Mayor and Councillors’ forum”, McKenzie said she had attended a July 15 meeting with the drug task force and Nekaneet.
The task force had started, she said, with the aim of educating people, including youths, about the dangers of drugs.
McKenzie brought forward a recommendation that the Protective Service Committee – made up of herself and Councillors Teichroeb, Jill Roy, and Al Fournier – represent the Town on the drugs issue.
“The Nekaneet want to form a partnership with ourselves and the RCMP to combat this.”
She continued: “The Nekaneet have come on in leaps and bounds in what they are doing how they are combating the meths and the stuff going through. They have a signed a letter of MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the RCMP with helping them. I thought that was impressive.”
McKenzie said the Town, RCMP, and the Nekaneet were looking at bringing a formal partnership to the table at the next meeting on August 19. Information would be brought back to Council.
“I feel this is going to evolve into more things,” she said.
ABOUT THE ANTI-DRUG INITIATIVE
Two key figures behind the drug action committee in Maple Creek are Wayne Cormier, executive director of the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP), and Lori Davis, Nekaneet Reserve-ECIP liaison.
In an interview last year, Cormier said the aim is to involve a cross-section of the community, including the RCMP, the Nekaneet, youth workers, municipalities, and schools. The initiative will seek to prevent substance abuse through education, such as heightening public awareness about potential drug activity throughout the area.
It comes amid growing concern over regional gangs and the harmful influence of crystal meth and opioids.
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant made from amphetamine and other derivative chemicals.
Most addicts use the drug in its illicit forms: meth and crystal meth.
Meth is a crystalline powder that is usually white, although it can be yellow, pink or brown. Odourless, bitter and soluble in liquid, it is most commonly consumed by smoking, snorting or injection. Crystal meth is clear or blue and in the form of coarse crystals that are usually smoked. Drug dealers will often cut meth with other substances to increase profit margins.
Street names for methamphetamine include glass, ice, crystal, crank, tweak, redneck cocaine and chalk.
Injecting meth produces the strongest effects that can last up to 30 minutes. The rush is caused by an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters in the brain. After the initial rush, meth users experience a steady high that can last up to 24 hours.
Meth is very cheap. The going street rate for meth in northwestern Ontario is $10 to $30 a “point” (one-tenth of a gram), according to the Ontario Provincial Police.