Lethbridge receives report on community-led drug strategy

The City of Lethbridge’s Community Issues Committee heard the final report on the Community Led Drug Strategy on Monday, which included information from agencies on the front lines of the drug crisis.

The report has five priorities:

  • strengthening collaboration between agencies
  • improving supports for agencies who deal with regular users
  • setting guidelines and making sure the strategy is having an impact
  • including Indigenous cultural programs
  • delivering effective prevention programs

The report said there are a number of contradictions that are holding back the process such as limited communication between agencies, who ultimately hold responsibility for change and stereotypes.

“You have a large Indigenous community here that feels disenfranchised, for the most part, in the health care system, in particular for people who are really struggling with addiction,” said city consultant Robin Parsons.

It was public engagement that brought up the most discussion in council chambers.

One councillor was concerned the average resident might not be getting enough of a say in the community-based strategy.

“They’re the ones that feel the impact,” said Coun. Joe Mauro. “So a lot of times we say we represent the community, but do we really? And that’s the point that I was trying to get across.”

This report marks the closing stages of Phase 2 in the city’s three-phased community-led strategy.

Phase 3 will see community groups gathering in the coming months to look at preliminary strategies and execute the first steps of the plan.

Those steps are expected to be in place by early 2020.


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