Injection drug equipment file photo courtesy of Lawson Health Research Institute.

Municipality to look at possibility of drug strategy

Chatham-Kent is one step closer to getting a municipal drug strategy.

On Monday night, council voted in favour of a motion to learn more about how a drug strategy would work and what would be needed to make it happen.

Councillor Brock McGregor was behind the motion, which is requesting that administration staff prepare a report detailing the next steps needed to implement the strategy.

McGregor previously told Blackburn News that he would like to see the strategy work with local agencies and stakeholders.

“We’re really looking for some direction. Some coordination and direction between the municipality and service providers so we’re all working towards the same goal,” he said.

McGregor’s motion states that injection drug use in Chatham-Kent is estimated at around four times higher than the national average. McGregor said council and community groups in the municipality have received a lot of assessments over the past few years on how severe the drug issue is locally and there is now a responsibility to look for a solution.

“There’s a lot of engagement right now. In speaking with…  the drug awareness council, I think we recognize that momentum and really look at this as being a time that we need to make a decision as a municipality to make this a priority and look at what our options are,” he said.

Councillor Marjorie Crew was a vocal supporter of the motion, stating that it’s vital for people to work together when it comes combating drug addiction in the community.

“It’s such a complex issue that we need everyone working together with all of our strengths. It’s a community effort and I can’t stress that enough,” she said. “The risks that are associated touch all of us, whether we have folks in our family who may be suffering from substance abuse disorder or someone who has been a victim of a break and enter…The characteristics of the drugs that our community is facing, they just keep growing and the complex needs keep expanding.”

The motion requests that the report returns to council before the finalization of the 2020 budget.