Drug issues concern the entire community

Weyburn Review editorial

A problem has invaded our community, namely the use of the deadly drug fentanyl, and the Weyburn Police Service is ready to continue tackling it and increasing the level of awareness and public education in response.

The WPS has just released their five-year strategic plan for addressing many issues in the community, and it should be noted, this plan has been in the works for quite a while now. The timeliness of the plan’s release, however, couldn’t have been better, as the police force and the community wrestle with a drug that has a very nasty impact on users.

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There is a drug strategy in the new five-year plan, with other aspects of police work also included, such as an enhanced visibility strategy, a traffic safety strategy and internal strategies to enhance and improve the WPS, as well as strategies to improve community engagement.

This document is the result of work by Chief Jamie Blunden in conjunction with the Weyburn Police Commission, with many hours of planning and thinking put into the overall plan before it was released to the public.

As a five-year strategic plan, there are many issues involved around the role of the police in the community, but the one regarding drug abuse in Weyburn will be getting tested right away.

Fentanyl isn’t the only drug problem in the city, but it’s the one that is causing the most issues currently, including several overdoses in the last two months. The police get called to assist EMS when it’s a serious situation, but these are only a fraction of the instances of incidents that involve this opioid.

The police will need the assistance of the citizens of the community as they address this issue. They will do their utmost to enforce the laws in regard to drug dealers, but a big part of the response is also increasing the awareness of the public of what’s involved, and helping drug users to get treatment for their addictions.

Education on the dangers of drugs needs to start in the schools, but it also needs to be out in the general public, as a number of those who are using fentanyl are in their 40s and 50s.

Prior to 2021, one would have supposed that opioid abuse was a big city thing, with addicts in the streets of Vancouver and Toronto being the main users. The use of fentanyl is actually in every community, even smaller ones than Weyburn, and residents need to be aware of it.

There are neighbours, friends and family who are caught up in the use of this drug, and all it takes is for one of those hits to be a particularly potent one for an overdose to occur. All of us need to be aware of those in our circles who might need help and support, and we need to extend a hand of help for anyone who needs it. There are resources available to assist, we just need to get the word out.