Community needs to take charge to drive out drugs

  • Jun. 30, 2009 1:00 p.m.

By June Norvila

It is time for the entire community to act together to help cut down on drug and alcohol abuse by local youth. Both the Bentley school administration and the RCMP stated that they couldn’t shut it down alone. They both said they need the help and backing of the community. They need people to report things that they notice that seem suspicious.

That was the message at an important and very informative session about illicit drugs that took place at the Bentley Community Hall on Wednesday, June 17. It was a chance to find out about the topic from an expert presenter Sgt. Donna Hanson from the Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service, Calgary Drug Section, Southern Alberta District RCMP.

School administration stated there is a growing problem in the school that reaches right down into the elementary grades, and although they are acting quickly within the school, they have no authority off school grounds or after school hours.

The RCMP said they couldn’t be available all the time. They need the community who lives there 24/7 to be the eyes and ears for them to help them know what and who to watch for to help them collect evidence.

Sgt. Hanson showed a Power Point presentation, and shared information and answered questions about illicit, as well as prescription drugs that are being abused, stating that abuse of alcohol often leads to the bigger problem. There is lots of misinformation and a lack of information out there that needs to be addressed.

Corporal James Allemekinders was also in attendance.

Organizers felt the free session, hosted by the Town of Bentley and council, Bentley Community Services/Neighbourhood Place and the Bentley Community Hall, was well attended.

Children were encouraged to bring a parent or other adult with them and get their name entered into free draws and two lucky children went away with a new bike.

Various groups including Bentley minor soccer and ball, the local skating club and the van society, the Blessing Pantry and the local Subway sponsored the door prize draws – the two bikes, one smaller and one larger, and other food giveaways.

Bentley Subway also supplied snacks and refreshments.

There were numerous free handouts for people to pick up. More drug awareness programs will be offered in the fall. It is time for the community to take charge!