Drug awareness presentations planned May 1

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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The local drug awareness committee is planning a series of presentations for youth and the community, but Cpl. John James is not convinced the towns drug problem is out of control.

The RCMP officer, who was challenged by Parrsboro deputy mayor Lloyd Smith at a recent council meeting to do more to combat an apparent substance abuse problem among local youth, said the upcoming presentations were not a result of public pressure.

The local drug awareness committee is planning a series of presentations for youth and the community, but Cpl. John James is not convinced the towns drug problem is out of control.

The RCMP officer, who was challenged by Parrsboro deputy mayor Lloyd Smith at a recent council meeting to do more to combat an apparent substance abuse problem among local youth, said the upcoming presentations were not a result of public pressure.

Smiths comments followed the suicide of a 26-year-old Parrsboro man last month, which was rumoured to be drug-related.

That sudden death got a lot of people talking, said James. We had a really good drug awareness meeting and a lot of discussion, but one of the things brought up was that there seems to be a lot of talk after the death, but the problem is no better or worse than it has been.

From a policing standpoint, James said a drug problem has usually been associated with a crime problem in other places he has worked, but that that is just not evident here.

Theres usually a lot more property crime when you have a drug problem, and we havent really seen that, he said. We havent seen any break and enters, thefts of vehicles, or anything.

While much of the talk around town seems to be about cocaine use being rampant among young people, James said the evidence does not back that up either, citing very few overdose calls for local paramedics.

A lot of it is a bit of an overreaction, but its still important to do something, he said. We want to raise public awareness too.

On May 1 Peter Kierstead, the RCMPs drug awareness co-ordinator, will visit Parrsboro Regional High School for a series of presentations with the students. High school students from Advocate will also be bused in for the occasion.

James Shedden of Addiction Services will also be brought in for the same presentations, and James said he is also trying to line up someone from Narcotics Anonymous to speak to the students about their first-hand experiences.

Following the presentations at the school, a public forum will be held at Fundy Geological Museum at 7 p.m. in which the public will be given an opportunity to discuss the subject.

The presenters from the school sessions will also be on hand.

The drug awareness committee will try to keep the presentations continuous, probably once every couple of months, to try and keep the message going, according to James, who said the committee has gone through great lengths to spread the message about drug awareness in recent years and does not deserve any criticism for not doing enough.

He said the drug awareness committee has brought in speakers such as George Chuvalo to talk to the students, and has even sent some students for treatment. Just because activities are not always in the public eye does not mean they are not happening, he pointed out.

Were not here to do p.r., were here to help people, he said. But that does not mean we should take it on the chin for not doing enough. A lot of its going to boil down to parents and parenting.

We cant take on everything.

awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: RCMP, Parrsboro Regional High School, Addiction Services Fundy Geological Museum

Geographic location: Parrsboro

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