Politicians unite in fight against meth

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All three levels of government might finally co-ordinate their response to a meth crisis that is straining Winnipeg police and hospitals.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/10/2018 (1400 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

All three levels of government might finally co-ordinate their response to a meth crisis that is straining Winnipeg police and hospitals.

On Sept. 20, Winnipeg city council unanimously passed a motion calling for an intergovernmental task force on methamphetamine use “with a mandate to identify prevention and treatment strategies.”

Council pledged to create its own task force if the province or Ottawa don’t step up by Nov. 19. However, it appears both want to collaborate with the city.

Minneapolis Star Tribune files Winnipeg police believe meth is coming from Mexico, smuggled into Canada’s West Coast before being shipped to other provinces. Public-health experts previously suggested the drug was being cultivated locally.

Last Tuesday, Mayor Brian Bowman met with Winnipeg Liberal MPs to discuss the task force.

Charleswood-area MP Doug Eyolfson said Bowman focused on the motion’s request that Ottawa “bolster its efforts at international border crossings.”

Winnipeg police believe meth is coming from Mexico, smuggled into Canada’s West Coast before being shipped to other provinces.

Public-health experts previously suggested the drug was being cultivated locally.

Because the federal government sets border policy, Eyolfson said he’ll be bringing up the issue with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

“If there’s something that we can do that could enhance our regular border practices, that could help address this, certainly, it’s something we should be looking into,” Eyolfson said.

Meanwhile, provincial Health Minister Cameron Friesen said he and Justice Minister Cliff Cullen wrote to Bowman on Sept. 19, a day before the council meeting, “indicating we would be pleased to meet with Winnipeg’s mayor and council following the municipal election” to talk meth.

Friesen noted the PC government has opened Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine clinics and added six mental-health beds to Health Sciences Centre — but he said more needs to be done.

“Collaboration with all partners, including other levels of government, is a must if we are to address this challenge. No good idea will be ignored,” he wrote.

Eyolfson said that’s a good sign, even if “sooner is better than later.”

— with files from Ryan Thorpe

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

Winnipeg city council motion on meth task force

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