The Halton Drug Strategy Community Forum held on October 8th was a beginning for the Halton Region to put in place a community-based drug strategy with clear, attainable goals. “The forum brought the right people together to start the process and ensure that Halton’s drug strategy begins with concrete action and is results driven,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The issue of substance use requires a meaningful multi-sector strategy that will best be achieved through collaboration, and driven and carried out by the community and the various expert agencies.” “Today we begin the collaboration,” he said. “We then want to move forward and pass the baton to our community partners to continue this shared approach to creating a community-based and driven strategy.”
Participants of the forum also learned about the programs and services available in Halton and collaborative efforts already taking place. A summary of recent local statistics related to substance use was presented, along with results from the Halton Substance Use Programs and Services Survey. The committee coordinated the community forum to identify priorities for Halton, with a vision that a comprehensive drug strategy will: reduce the stigma and impacts of substance use, limit duplication of services, ensure well-informed community activities, and that the program will be a shared approach. For more information visit:www.halton.ca/drugstrategy.
Kevin Flynn, MPP for Oakville thanks Halton Region for putting together a forum to develop a comprehensive local strategy with clear attainable goals and a shared vision and purpose to improve the quality of life for many Halton residents. In October of last year, MPP Flynn arranged a meeting with local drug addiction agencies, the Halton Regional Police, Mississauga-Halton Local Integrated Health Network (LHIN) and regional Chair Gary Carr to discuss the benefits of a Halton Drug Strategy. “I thought it would be appropriate to use what I learned as chair of the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions to bring together local agencies, the local LHIN, members of the Halton regional police and community members who are affected by substance abuse to talk about the benefits of having a Halton Drug Strategy,” said Kevin Flynn.
Terence Young, MP shares the same concern. Although the forum addressed many forms of drug abuse, in a recent newsletter Terence focused on the use of marijuana and its ramifications. Marijuana is making headlines and is widely used by citizens, young and old and Terence Young says, “I am not naive about marijuana use or how easily available it is. It has been since I was a teenager.” Concerning the question of legalizing marijuana, Terence declares that, “My government has no intention of legalizing marijuana.”
The message is clear. Drugs are a concern. The answers to controlling drugs are complicated. Enforcement is difficult and legalization will only promote usage. The following excerpts from MP Terence Young’s newsletter outline the complexity of the task of controlling drugs. The Edmonton Journal Reports that, “CSIS estimates roughly 950 organized criminal groups active in Canada (and about 80 per cent derive revenues from illegal drug sales). “Fourteen gangs currently operate within the borders of Toronto’s Division 12” according to the Toronto Star.
Alcohol is legal and highly regulated in Ontario, yet over $ 500 million worth of illegal alcohol is sold every year in Ontario booze cans, after-hours clubs and to minors. Binge drinking amongst minors has become a major substance abuse problem. CAMH says 54.9% of students between grades seven and twelve drink alcohol illegally on occasion. So how well is ‘regulation’ doing?
Tobacco is also a legal substance that is regulated. CAMH says that students as young as twelve smoke tobacco, and 14% of students in grades 11 and 12 smoke tobacco. Regulation is more discouragement than prevention. Children and teens get tobacco and alcohol from older siblings, at home, or from adults that buy it for them. It would be the same with regulated marijuana. The easier marijuana is made available to adults, the easier it will be for children to get.
Tags: Kevin Flynn