By Letter to the Editor on August 24, 2019.
The Lethbridge Citizens Alliance (LCA) Mission Statement, states: “We will create a safe community for our children and other vulnerable members by promoting an atmosphere of continuous awareness and by pushing for 4-pillar (Prevention, Enforcement, Harm Reduction and Treatment”) results-based treatment of drug abuse to stop these drug issues in our city.”
“4-Pillars” means that in order for a structure or in this case a “solution strategy” to bear the weight of the issue (i.e.: Lethbridge’s drug addiction epidemic), all “4 Pillars” must “exist” and share the load. Should one or two of the pillars bear all the weight, the whole “solution strategy” will crumble resulting in a far greater danger and mess than before.
While, the location of the “Harm Reduction” Pillar (SCS) is in no way optimal, the SCS is the one pillar that is literally holding the drug addiction epidemic at bay. Close it and the reality of the “debris” in our streets, businesses and playgrounds will be dead and dying bodies, still drug paraphernalia, syringes, while escalating HIV, STIs and disease. Who will clean this up? Who will pay for this? How will our community be safer?
The one “pillar” that is critically needed NOW is “Treatment,” specifically co-ordinated wrap-around intox, detox, treatment and recovery, housing and mental health counselling.
Does this pillar exist to meet this epidemic? No, it does not. Who has the authority (jurisdiction) to build this pillar? The provincial government has the responsibility. What is the status of this pillar? Plans to build this pillar have been put on “hold” by the provincial government.
Yet, in the cacophony of opinions, rants and raves, there has been little energy put forth to hold the province accountable for their responsibility of building the “Treatment” pillar.
If we sincerely believe in the “LCA’s Mission Statement,” then it is critical to start “pushing for a full 4-Pillar results-based treatment of drug abuseÉ” The City of Lethbridge, Lethbridge Police Service, the SCS: not one of these organizations can build this pillar. Instead, ask the following elected officials – who do have the authority – where and when Lethbridge can expect the Treatment Pillar to be on the ground running to address the drug addiction epidemic:
The Honourable Jason Luan – Minister of Mental Health and Addictions 403-216-5444; Calgary.Foothills@assembly.ab.ca;
The Honourable Nathan Neudorf – MLA Lethbridge East 403-320-1011; Lethbridge.East@assembly.ab.ca; and
The Honourable Shannon Phillips – MLA Lethbridge West 403-329-4644; Lethbridge.West@assembly.ab.ca