City council considers next step in alcohol, drug strategy

Tackling addiction in Red Deer will be a big task, admits Kath Hoffman, co-chair of the Central Alberta Addictions Consortium.

Tackling addiction in Red Deer will be a big task, admits Kath Hoffman, co-chair of the Central Alberta Addictions Consortium.

But she points to the community’s response to homelessness as proof of what can be done when the community comes together.

Hoffman told city council on Monday night that she wants to see addiction, and strategies to deal with it, become as much a part of the local conversation as homelessness became.

To that end, a Red Deer Alcohol and Drug Strategy has been developed to provide the road map for dealing with addiction, an issue that is as complex as its effects are far reaching.

The 52-page strategy report explains the local initiative is built on four pillars: prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement practices. The approach has been adopted successfully in many European countries and other Canadian communities.

Many of the recommendations to council called on improving approaches already in place and creating better access to help and treatment and more co-ordination among agencies dealing with addiction-related issues.

Hoffman said the strategy provided a “snapshot” of the current state of affairs in the community while shining a spotlight on areas for improvement. The initiative will also provide an opportunity to provide the community with the latest research on addiction; why some drug or alcohol users become addicts and others don’t.

The community is also expected to play a big role in coming forward with recommendations to tackle addictions issues.

Among suggestions is creating a so-called “drug court,” which specializes in ways to deal with more minor drug offences by means other than jail sentences or no-drinking or drug-taking probation orders that are impractical when dealing with addicts.

Council members expressed their support for more community consultation to provide a clearer role for city hall in the strategy.

They opted to table the strategy for a month to provide time to further consider the next step.

In other council news:

lCouncil unanimously endorses an updated Kin Kanyon Concept Plan that drops a proposed spray park among other changes. The plan proposed replacing the existing spray rock with a picnic area when the rock has reached the end of its life span in the next five to 10 years.

Councillors weren’t so sure they wanted to see the end of water features in the park and asked that something similar be considered along with other options when the spray rock is removed.

lCity administration will talk to the RCMP to see if they support the opening of a collision centre in Red Deer. Successful in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat — which have municipal police forces — the centres are places to report minor accidents without tying up police officers.

RCMP’s K-Division has not been in favour of collision centres previously.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Friday, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the province’s plan to reduce surgical wait times over the next two years. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Alberta provides more funding to reduce surgery wait times

The province is working to provide better access to surgeries over the… Continue reading

RDC Queens volleyball players Sydney Rix and Emma Holmes gave blood as part of the Bleed Green Challenge, in partnership with Canadian Blood Services. (Photo courtesy RDC Queens Instagram)
Blood donation: RDC Athletics give back with Bleed Green Challenge

In what has been a challenging year for everyone across Alberta, Red… Continue reading

Eastview Middle School’s Jeremy Spink was selected as the 2020/21 NHL/NHLPA Most Valuable Teacher for February (Photo Courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Red Deer teacher earns NHL’s Most Valuable Teacher Award for February

Eastview Middle School’s Jeremey Spink picked up the honour

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton on December 28, 2018. The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse gas offset program that will govern how developers can register and sell credits earned through projects that reduce emissions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Proposed federal carbon offset credit regulations raise farmer advocate’s concern

CALGARY — Projects that qualify to sell federal greenhouse gas emission credits… Continue reading

The National War Memorial honouring Canadians who served in the military is shown in Ottawa on Sunday, March 31, 2019. A member of the Canadian Armed Forces has died in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadian soldier found dead in his quarters in Afghanistan: military

OTTAWA — A member of the Canadian Armed Forces has died in… Continue reading

A flare stack lights the sky from the Imperial Oil refinery in Edmonton on December 28, 2018. The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse gas offset program that will govern how developers can register and sell credits earned through projects that reduce emissions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Ottawa unveils proposed federal carbon offset emission credit regulations

CALGARY — The federal government is unveiling proposed regulations for its greenhouse… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will keep… Continue reading

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta's COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Judge rules Alberta pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

EDMONTON — A judge has ruled that an Alberta pastor will remain… Continue reading

Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Man found guilty in attack that left Winnipeg teen with hammer in head

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg judge has found a man guilty in an… Continue reading

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Most Read