PC Leader Brian Pallister reveals comprehensive strategy to address methamphetamine treatment, education and enforcement
A re-elected PC government will launch a Safer Streets, Safer Lives Action Plan to address the rising use and distribution of methamphetamine and other dangerous street drugs in Manitoba communities.
“Those struggling with drug addiction do not suffer alone – they have mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons, daughters and friends who suffer alongside them. And illicit drugs like methamphetamine can affect entire communities,” said Manitoba PC Leader Brian Pallister. “We have developed a comprehensive plan that addresses treatment, education and enforcement. Our plan won’t help people get drugs, it will help people get off drugs.”
The Safer Streets, Safer Lives Action Plan consists of a three-pillar strategy to fight escalating addiction and crime rates in Winnipeg and across the province, including:
1) Treatment: We will build on recommendations made in the VIRGO report, the Illicit Drug Task Force, and the Community Wellness and Public Safety Alliance to improve and enhance access to mental health support and addiction services, including:
- A new acute medical sobering facility staffed with mental health professionals that will treat between 20 to 30 patients at a time;
- new recovery and drop-in centres;
- enhanced flexible-length withdrawal services in Winnipeg;
- opening an additional Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic in the Southern Health-Sante Sud region;
- building more supportive recovery housing units; and
- supporting anti-drug youth initiatives such as expanded street outreach programs.
2) Education: Educating our children about the dangers of drug abuse is a key element in our strategy. They must be taught at an early age that addiction is a threat not only to their own health, but the health of their families and their communities.
A re-elected PC government will:
- update the anti-addictions curriculum, which hasn’t been updated since 1999, using evidence-based lessons that emphasize the role of peer pressure, social media and cultural influence to help keep kids from starting and using drugs.
- engage students in learning outcomes related to substance abuse and prevention in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11; and
- make additional resources available to school divisions.
3) Enforcement: We will crack down on drug dealers victimizing our communities and making downtown Winnipeg streets unsafe. We will invest nearly $8 million to help police fight gangs and criminals who have been exploiting neighbourhoods.
This will include:
- directing the Manitoba Police Commission, chaired by David Asper, to advise the province and our public and private partners on the best way to improve safety on city streets, including the use of foot patrols, surveillance cameras, downtown lighting, emergency communications equipment and better coordination with the private sector to clean up downtown Winnipeg;
- launching a Crime Stoppers ad blitz in Winnipeg, Brandon and rural Manitoba and providing more cash for drug tips;
- supporting tactical enforcement efforts by the Winnipeg Police Service to respond to drug intelligence;
- providing more resources for the Public Safety Investigations Unit to get drug dealers on the run;
- improving criminal intelligence connectivity between RCMP and municipal police forces and supporting joint forces operations to crack down on crime;
- expanding civil forfeiture to make it easier to turn seized drug money and assets into resources for police; and
- mobilizing community networks where government and non-government organizations coordinate local crime prevention efforts.
Pallister noted that the Safer Streets, Safer Lives Action Plan will require cooperation between all three levels of government. Many of the items will require full participation and support of municipal and federal partners. The province is also demanding that the federal government toughen up sentences for meth traffickers.
“Meth is scarring our communities. Today’s announcement offers a comprehensive approach that steps up enforcement while offering enhanced treatment of addictions. The gangs who are dealing drugs are being put on notice that their time is up. A PC government will not stand by and see neighbourhoods traumatized.” said Pallister.