July 12th, 2024

When are we going to take our streets back from drug dealers?


By Lethbridge Herald on July 6, 2024.

Editor:

I woke up this morning confused. Another life was lost last week due to fentanyl. A loving, kind, fun 20-year-old has passed away.

She had her whole life ahead of her. Her family is devastated as are the friends who knew them all well.

How well did I know them? We have spent special occasions together over the last 11 years. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, graduations, Canada Day, birthdays and whatever was special to us in between.

I watched the three children grow and develop into young people with good values and parents who loved them and worked hard for their family. The oldest child is now a recent U of L grad, the middle child is a beautiful singer and musician and the youngest, this beautiful 20-year-old, still developing and working towards her future.

Why am I confused? How can an innocent person just walk into Galt Gardens and know who a dealer is and buy drugs? She did not know the dealer, I am told. I understand the police are working hard and getting drugs off the street and we are all grateful for this. I am full of questions, though.

Do we not have undercover police hanging out at Galt Gardens? Are these dealers just waiting for someone to come and buy drugs? Do they have signs that say “drugs for sale?”

How easy can it be? How many are there?

My heart aches for this family and for the person I knew. There are a lot of pressures through so many sources for everyone and being 20 has never been an easy road. This family, like others who have gone through such a loss, will never be the same. Such an unnecessary loss of a sweet human who had the potential to find and explore her passions further and follow her dreams, now all gone. I am so sad, too. There is nothing I can do other than help to support the four remaining family members. That in itself is heart wrenching – trying to console a mother and father and siblings sobbing.

So we have another statistic, another life taken because of drugs being sold at Galt Gardens.

When will we take back our streets? Have we become numb about this? Complicated enforcement rules? What is complicated is trying to explain why this happens so easily.

Linda Rawbon

Lethbridge

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ewingbt

First my condolences to you, family and friends.
Sadly, 2016-2023 opioid overdoses alone exceed 45,000 Canadians.
The police cannot charge the dealers if they only have what would be considered ‘personal use’ amounts and the dealers know this. The Crown Prosecutors have been instructed by Ottawa not to prosecute people with those amounts, binding the hands of police.
Most of the people on the street have drugs that they will sell to someone asking, for inflated prices, so they can replace them with more and help support their own addiction.
It is easier to buy drugs on the street than to buy alcohol.
Many do not understand the pain and anguish this crisis causes to families and sadlI have two friends who have lost their daughters from fatal overdoses.
We allow this by not speaking out and saying we do not want this in our city or province. After so long, it will become the ‘norm’ in society and we are already seeing this in our city, by constant efforts to bring people into the city center for events, where we have to intermingle with the dealers, addicts, prostitutes . . . criminals!
They appear to have given up and now want society to just accept it as the new normal! People stayed silent and here we are . . .
The Indigenous have been hit the hardest, taking away a generation almost and this is spreading to every other part of society.
No family, no age group, no level of social stratification are immune . . . no one! Our city and province are better off than others because we have a government that is focused on treatment, not enabling addicts as they slowly kill themselves. BC has gone down the rabbit hole so far I don’t see any chance of significant changes to slow the crisis for at least 10 years at over 2,500 per year in BC . . . sad!
Alberta has lower per capita rates of fatal overdoses and we have not seen the results of their policies fully from treatment focused policies, but the trend is already moving to the positive side.
The biggest roadblock in seeing change is Ottawa! This federal government policies are increasing the crisis. At least BC made the decision to recriminalize drugs, which caused fatal overdoses to dramatically increase and had sent the wrong message to users and those thinking about using.
They either have or are in the process of pushing through legislation that will allow those 12-16 years old to take an interview for precribed ‘safe supply’ drugs to use, without informing the parents. Parents have been cut out!
These policies are now moving to Ontario and Quebec and some municipalities in Ontario are already moving to remove ‘safe supply’ options from their centers.
It has got so bad in BC, they are manipulating their stats by only providing fatal overdose stats for toxic street drugs, not their safe supply drugs.
“. . . BC Coroners Service confirms that toxic, unregulated drugs claimed the lives of at least 2,511 people in British Columbia in 2023,. . .” No mention of how many died from safe supply drugs, evidence the stats are much higher.
I do not agree with many of the UCP policies, but they are moving in the right direction with their drug addiction policies and we will see increased positive results within the year I am sure.
It is very sad and the losses are avoidable if we start to make better decisions.
I agree . . . it is as hard as we make it!
I know too many people I dealt with who are gone, and watched countless other areas in the downtown taped off waiting for a medical examiner to confirm the fatal overdose. Police members, fire, EMS, even D.O.T. all have suffered psychologically from having to deal with these senseless deaths and many of which have built up a rapport with these people.
It is one of the reasons I have tried to get people to speak out, instead of thinking ‘nothing I can do about it, it is everywhere!’
That is wrong . . . it happens because we have allowed it!
Condolences!

Last edited 5 days ago by ewingbt
ReallyReally

“The biggest roadblock in seeing change is Ottawa!” — shameless partisan biased cowflop. Over 50% of the homeless drug addicts on our streets are either mentally ill individuals or former foster system individuals who “aged-out” of the foster care allowances and ended up on the streets because of a lack of support. Arguably many of the latter are part of the former spectrum. Our society FAILS these individuals PERIOD; long has due to pathetic social and economic policies. The reality is that our society would save many billions of dollars per year enacting polices that provide more intelligent transitional, housing and training and employment programs (this idea is supported by cost benefit analysis/studies inclusive of such feasible and even running programs). But we do not… Why? — Because of the right wing leaning indoctrination that has brainwashed us to abandon the idea of “community support”. There is no partisan finger pointing that is justifiable. Our society is simply far too greedy and indifferent. Better we pay less taxes and can afford a fancy BBQ smoker or another cruise than behave like a community of caring individuals.

pursuit diver

Your stats are flawed and you miss the cause of those with mental health conditions, drug abuse being the cause for many.
The “policies” of the federal government are the cause for so many deaths! If you do not see how damaging the policies are, then you have no hope of understanding the real cause of so many senseless deaths.
Shame on you for being so insensitive in your rant to ignore the context of the Letter to Editor and go off in a partisan rant.
Stop being a troll and have some compassion for this person who had asked some serious questions about the death of a young 20 year old!
Shameful!

Last edited 3 days ago by pursuit diver
ReallyReally

The pot calling the kettle black… with regard to your “flawed stats” comment. Further, I was specifically responding to Mr. Ewing’s remark and my comment was not at all overlooking the tragedy used as an example and overarching context of the drug dealing issue. Drug abuse can be a cause for mental health concern with some individuals, but by far the basis for mental health related drug abuse finds its sources long before any individual seeks solace with any substance abuse. I speak up when I perceive or factually am aware that some comments or media releases are faulty. I also routinely review the sources of information that have triggered my reaction. I am particularly offended by the over-simplification of biased partisan brain-washing rants. As for a lack of sensitivity and compassion… my family and acquaintance circle have lost many dear individuals to this ongoing drug abuse as well as to mental health illness. I am well aware and INFORMED of the COMPLEXITY of this problem. To place the bulk of blame on the federal government is simply RIDICULOUS. Our society needs to become just that… a society, a community supporting all sectors, not a gaggle of indifferent and self-serving, self absorbed actors.

Say What . . .

My thoughts and prayers to you Linda and to the family.
Thanks pd for calling out an inappropriate comment. Some just do not get it.

ReallyReally

Importantly I apologize that my comments failed to properly acknowledge and respect the pain Linda feels. I have personally experienced that pain more than once. I have wrestled with her very thoughts myself. My wife, an elementary school teacher, and I have regularly discussed the idea that early childhood intervention is a primary need for a healthy society. Yet our governments focus on “reducing taxes” to stay in power rather than adequately fund our education systems for a start. The magical “Pass Go Card” for any government purely intent on being in power: “We will reduce taxes”. A society that focuses on assuring that a child is fed, that a child is fully, roundly educated — even the “special needs” children, that a child has adequate health (medical, dental, mental) concerns tended to, that a child is safely housed, that a single parent is paid a living wage salary at one job that allows them to be home enough to provide a secure and loving environment for their children… that a child has a community’s support no matter who they are — these are the changes that will best affect the long term outcomes needed to get our streets back. Our society has been brainwashed into believing, into accepting, even demanding, cuts, cuts, more cuts to funding for all of these critical concerns. We have been indoctrinated into believing that reduced taxes, inadequate taxes are good governance. We choose to vote for governance that promises less taxation yet, at least for the corporations and wealthy. We have been brain-washed into accepting that corporate lobby controlled governance is O.K., the sort of governance that allowed this opioid addiction problem to begin, let alone blossom into the murderous hydra that it is. We have become greedy consumers of streaming services rather than a society that is willing to fund community halls… community for our children to develop a sense of security, respect, empathy for one another. The dilemma and answers are far more complex than my “rant” can cover, but ultimately, WE are responsible for the state of affairs. PERIOD. We get the governance and services we deserve.

JimO

There was a fire downtown on 3rd ave monday night near Galt garden any word on what/where, and who?

Last edited 2 days ago by JimO


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