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.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Alberta could receive 76,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine next week

Alberta should be getting a large shipment of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

An anti-lockdown protest went ahead outside a café in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
RCMP investigating online threats made against officers who were at central Alberta protest

Online images purportedly showing officers attending weekend rally at Mirror in rifle crosshairs

Bowden Institution Black Press file photo
Bowden Institution inmate dies from COVID-19 complications

Bowden death the sixth in Canada’s federal prison system

(Contributed)
FOUND: Police locate Red Deer missing youth

Red Deer RCMP thank the public for their assistance

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Adam Feller reacts as he gets his Pfizer-BioNTech shot at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Montreal. Quebec has become the latest province to stop giving Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as a first dose.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Ontario keeps stay-at-home order; Quebec pauses Oxford-AstraZeneca shots

Ontario has announced it’s keeping its stay-at-home order in place until at… Continue reading

The flag of the Supreme Court of Canada flies outside the building following a ceremony in Ottawa, Monday March 15, 2021. The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially winning the Canadian Derby more than three years ago might have run out of legal room to reclaim the title. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Supreme Court won’t hear appeal from horse owners over derby dispute

OTTAWA — The owners of a horse that was disqualified after initially… Continue reading

People take part in a protest called 'Justice for Joyce' in Montreal, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, where they demanded justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to systemic racism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Quebec coroner’s inquest into death of Joyce Echaquan begins as her family testifies

MONTREAL — The husband of an Indigenous woman who was subjected to… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault, centre, speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec tables revamp of French-language law, toughens rules for businesses, schools

MONTREAL — The Quebec government reasserted the right of Quebecers to live… Continue reading

Permanent residency
Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims… Continue reading

Co-founders Craig (left) and Marc Kielburger introduce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau as they appear at the WE Day celebrations in Ottawa on November 10, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ethics watchdog: PM didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, but Morneau did

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not breach the Conflict of… Continue reading

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, center, celebrates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Crew with teammates from left, forward Tsubasa Endoh, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Patrick Mullins during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Bradley, Altidore scores in Toronto FC’s 2-0 win over Crew

ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Michael Bradley had a goal and an assist,… Continue reading

A football with the CFL logo sits on a chair during a press conference in Winnipeg, Friday, November 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Former defensive lineman Klassen tackling retirement as he did opposing quarterbacks

Klassen spent seven CFL seasons with Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa

Most Read