By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on June 7, 2018.
Wow. SMH. The mayor’s statement on needle debris does not mention things that the City of Lethbridge is doing to eliminate addicts and drugs from our streets (with the exception of the comment about Lethbridge Police Service É thank you, LPS). Almost the entire statement is focused on accepting that there will be needle debris and all we can hope to do is attempt to reduce the needle debris while helping addicts stay addicted. The mayor believes we must educate ourselves and our young children rather than eliminate drugs and addicts. He has apparently given up on that. I, and many, like me, have not. I refuse to accept defeat and give in to the addicts. It is the wrong thing to do. It is a war and we must fight the good fight. Not give weapons to the opposing soldiers.
I must comment on some of the mayor’s statements:
“… we initiated the Executive Leaders Coalition on Opioid Use”
There are 16 members; 13 of them are funded by taxpayer money. Two of them may receive some funding from taxpayer money. Perhaps one (BRZ) is comprised of community members not funded at all by the taxpayer. Then again, oops, the BRZ does indeed receive some City funding for the Clean Sweep program. So perhaps no members are truly independent of the government. Where are the daycare owners? Or mothers? Citizens that enjoy walking through our parks and playgrounds? Or others affected by this crisis directly? Perhaps a few angry mothers on the committee could get something effective done. Because I and those I speak to believe the current works of the coalition are woefully ineffective and in fact contributing to the problem, not solving it. The coalition is sending out the message that it is OK to do drugs and that we will help you do drugs. And using taxpayer money to do it. I, for one, do not want my money used to send that message.
“… we will continue to do as much as we can, within our jurisdiction as a municipality, to ensure the safety of all residents of our city”
Your jurisdiction includes the LPS enforcing the criminal laws of Canada. Why then has the City apparently created a safe zone around the SCS where LPS are not allowed to do their sworn duty?
“Drug and needle debris in public places is a troubling and challenging issue for Lethbridge.”
Troubling? Really? You find it “troubling” that kids are bringing needles home in their backpack? You find it troubling that people have been pricked by needles? I found it horrifying and my heart goes out to every parent of a young child in this City right now. It is not an issue É it is a crisis and should be treated as such.
“Parents in particular are understandably alarmed by the risk discarded needles pose to their children.”
Understandably alarmed? Nowhere in this statement have I seen any sympathy directed at the parents and children that have already been pricked by needles or had needles picked up and brought home. Parents and children are in harms way and frightened. I hope all the “alarmed” parents rise up. I hope even more fervently that you as mayor start listening to them rather than all the taxpayer-funded members of the Coalition you appear to hold so dear. Quit doubling down and admit that what we are doing is failing and do something effective for a change.
All four points listed do nothing to eliminate drugs and addiction. And they put the onus on the citizen to deal with the situation that the city has enabled.
“… exceptional return rate” on needles
Exceptional? 100 per cent is exceptional. So is 99 per cent and 98 per cent. So which is it?
“What can you do, as a resident”
Residents don’t want to be told how to deal with needles. They most definitely do not want to have to educate their little children on needle debris. What they do want is to feel safe in our city. They want to take their children to a park or playground or school yard and not have to scan every square inch first to ensure it is safe. They do not want to hide in their houses while drug addicts take over their city. They do not want their cars or homes broken into by addicts looking for money for their next fix at the SCS. They do not want to observe addicts shooting up. They do not want to avoid areas of Lethbridge for fear they may run into addicts who become violent. They want true leadership from elected officials to solve the problem not perpetuate it.
Nowhere in the mayor’s stated goals for the community is it listed that we want to reduce addiction. Eliminate the sale of drugs in our city. Send drug dealers to jail. Help addicts get off drugs. Make the city safe for parents and children. Or quit wasting taxpayer money.
“… we will continue to seek effective ways to reduce the incidence of needle debris in public places”
The final statement suggests to me that the mayor has given up. Thrown in the towel. All he wants is a reduction in needle debris. I want elimination! Set the goal high! It appears we are being told to accept the current situation as the new norm. And educate ourselves and our young children to be safe around needles. While at the same time we pay health-care workers to be at the SCS to ensure drug addicts are unharmed and revive them if they overdose. Again. WOW. Citizens, we are on our own! Addicts are being taken care of and we are not. How did this situation become so perverted? Oh yes. Our star-studded coalition of taxpayer-funded groups. Party on!
Put our tax money towards detox centres, not consumption sites. Help the addicts get off drugs. Stop helping them stay on drugs.
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