Workshop lays out drugs and alcohol ‘road map’

Sometimes municipalities know the best solution to their drug problems, according to Donald MacPherson, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition director.

Sometimes municipalities know the best solution to their drug problems, according to Donald MacPherson, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition director.

MacPherson was the keynote speaker at a daylong workshop on Thursday in Red Deer.

The city’s Social Planning Department sees the workshop as an opportunity to involve as many social groups as possible in the development of a drugs and alcohol abuse road map.

“You have some significant issues around substance abuse problems in Red Deer and they aren’t going to go away, they’re probably only going to get worse,” said MacPherson.

“People are probably only going to get more marginalized and more ill and more problematic the less people deal with it.”

Scott Cameron, Red Deer’s Social Planning Department manager, said the workshop was about gathering perspectives from community members about drug and alcohol abuse.

“It is a sensitive issue, people may have strong feelings on one side or the other, so part of this is about understanding the conversation,” said Cameron.

“Where is the common ground, where do we start in terms of developing some sort of road map?”

Up to this point, there have been some focus groups the city has talked with in regards to developing a strategy.

The city is analyzing the focus group data.

“This is a broader community conversation and from the city’s perspective, we’ll continue to work with the various community partners to analyze what we’re hearing and see where that takes us,” said Cameron.

MacPherson’s experience in Vancouver translates into Red Deer’s development of the strategy.

“Developing a successful strategy takes political leadership, political buy-in, leadership at all levels for bringing sectors together, involving people who use drugs in the discussion so you know you’re not missing the mark and keeping the process going,” said MacPherson.

“It is a complex issue, you will never have 100 per cent consensus. How do you get close enough to consensus before you move things forward?”

MacPherson said Red Deer is way ahead of similar sized cities just by talking about the problem and working on developing a strategy.

“Red Deer is doing a lot of the groundwork here,” said MacPherson, adding the next important step would be to get some financial support from the provincial government.

“It was an important enough topic that council wanted to have a conversation about it,” said Cameron. “Instead of continually talking rhetorically about it, let’s have a real honest conversation about what does this mean to us.”

The information gathered from the workshop today will be considered by the department and then brought back out to the community again for reaction and discussion.

Just Posted

Red Deer church donates to Safe Harbour

It was all about helping those in need at Safe Harbour in… Continue reading

Former firefighter with PTSD sues Syncrude over suspended benefits, dismissal

CALGARY — A lawsuit filed by a former firefighter and paramedic against… Continue reading

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

HALIFAX — Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi may have hoped to quietly disappear from… Continue reading

Democrats aren’t buying Trump’s shutdown-ending ‘compromise’

WASHINGTON — In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President Donald… Continue reading

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

At 30-day mark, shutdown logjam remains over border funding

WASHINGTON — Thirty days into the partial government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans… Continue reading

Holocaust victims buried after remains found in UK museum

LONDON — The remains of six unidentified Holocaust victims were buried in… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘So what’ if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the… Continue reading

Photos: Rocks fly at 37th Annual Oilmen’s Bonspiel

Twenty-nine teams gathered at the Pidherney Curling Centre in Red Deer for… Continue reading

Death toll reaches 79 in Mexico fuel pipeline fire horror

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — People in the town where a gasoline explosion killed… Continue reading

With Trump out, Davos chief eyes fixing world architecture

DAVOS, Switzerland — The founder of the World Economic Forum says U.S.… Continue reading

Mexican pipeline explosion kills 71, leaves nightmare of ash

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — Gerardo Perez returned Saturday to the scorched field in… Continue reading

Most Read