More treatment beds, funds for needles and safe injection site needed in meth fight: Manitoba NDP
Published Thursday, January 10, 2019 1:38PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, January 10, 2019 7:20PM CST
He calls it an epidemic. Will Gault knows about the pitfalls of a meth addiction.
"The state of mind it puts you in, the constant paranoia, the psychosis, the being awake for days at end,” said Gault
The recovering addict says feelings of abandonment as a child and growing up in poverty contributed to his eventual meth use.
He tried it for the first time at a party in 2014.
"I didn't really realize at the time what I was snorting, but I knew right away I wanted more,” said Gault.
Manitoba's NDP says it's consulted with experts to draft a 22-page report on meth and addictions.
"What we have here is not just a meth crisis, what we have is a long ongoing addictions crisis in Manitoba,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.
Kinew says an overwhelming theme from the report concluded long-term solutions are needed to battle poverty and childhood trauma which lead to addiction.
"If someone has housing, if someone has food, if somebody has a meaningful life they don't use meth,” said Kinew.
In the short and medium term Kinew says the report has other recommendations:
- 50 long-term treatment beds.
- More money for clean needles in Winnipeg. Health officials handed out around 2 million last year.
- One or more safe injection sites for Winnipeg.
Kinew also says the evidence shows the “Say No To Drugs” abstinence strategy doesn't work and harm reduction should be the focus instead.
"The kids who heard the message just say no are actually more likely to become problem users of substances,” said Kinew.
Justice Minister Cliff Cullen says the province will continue to campaign on the dangers of drugs to kids.
"Wab Kinew wants to tell kids it's okay to do meth and other illicit drugs," said Cullen.
Cullen called the NDP report half-backed and dangerous and he criticized Kinew for not disclosing the experts involved.
"He didn't have any of the people he claimed to have spoken to with him in terms of the report,” said Cullen.
Kinew says names weren't provided for fear of reprisals.
As for Will Gault he says long-term treatment saved him and there needs to be more. The former peace officer would also like to see stiffer sentences for dealers.
"The bottom line with this drug and addiction as a whole is the bitter end is jails, institutions and death,” said Gault.
Late last year the city, province and Ottawa announced an illicit drug task force to combat drugs, with solutions to come forward in six months.