Com­mu­nity part­ner­ship on drug abuse dis­banded

Cape Breton Post - - News - BY CHRIS SHAN­NON CAPE BRE­TON POST cshan­non@cb­post.com

SYD­NEY — A part­ner­ship that formed fol­low­ing nu­mer­ous pre­scrip­tion drug-re­lated deaths six years ago will fold April 30.

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice Chief Myles Burke made it of­fi­cial in a news release is­sued Thurs­day. Spec­u­la­tion of the demise of the Cape Bre­ton Com­mu­nity Part­ner­ship on Drug Abuse has been ram­pant since late last week.

As chair of the group, Burke said there was an over­lap in re­sources from var­i­ous part­ners at the Cape Bre­ton District Health Au­thor­ity, Cape Bre­ton Uni­ver­sity and the re­gional po­lice force, among other part­ners.

“We felt that it was time to prob­a­bly look at what’s best for the com­mu­nity, our re­sources, etc.,” Burke said.

He said the re­gional po­lice ser­vice is open to con­tinue the work with their part­ners, as long as staff and vol­un­teer re­sources are used wisely.

“Spread­ing peo­ple too thin can be a dif­fi­cult thing, and we want peo­ple to vol­un­teer and be work­ing to­ward a goal,” Burke said.

“When we start looking at sus­tain­abil­ity with fi­nances and com­pet­ing in­ter­ests with other groups it’s time to take a hard look at what we’re do­ing and if there’s a bet­ter way to do it.”

The com­mu­nity part­ner­ship on drug abuse formed due to the nu­mer­ous dru­gre­lated deaths con­nected to oxy­codone abuse. Its fo­cus was to work col­lab­o­ra­tively to ad­dress the harm­ful im­pact of the abuse of drugs in the com­mu­nity, us­ing in­ter­ven­tions based on ev­i­dence and re­search.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion suc­cess­fully lob­bied for the us­age of a provincewide elec­tronic pre­scrip­tion mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram and helped sup­port the es­tab­lish­ment of the ad­dic­tion ser­vices methadone main­te­nance pro­gram.

Burke said much of the heavy lift­ing in get­ting drug push­ers off the street has been done. Al­though he ad­mit­ted there are still peo­ple dy­ing of pre­scrip­tion drug abuse in the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“I think all of the big hits have been done and ac­com­plished. We haven’t won the bat­tle, but we’ve won sig­nif­i­cant pieces ... deal­ing with the is­sues of pre­scrip­tion drug abuse and deaths in our com­mu­ni­ties.”

A for­mer chair of the part­ner­ship, who’s now a Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity coun­cil­lor, Ge­orge MacDon­ald, ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment re­gard­ing the de­ci­sion to dis­band the part­ner­ship.

“The group was so suc­cess­ful that it’s been rec­og­nized as one of the most suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tions among agen­cies we’ve ever had. So I’m not happy,” MacDon­ald said, Thurs­day.

“I’ll only be sat­is­fied when I see who’s go­ing to fin­ish off th­ese projects.”

Burke said among the projects still left on the ta­ble to be com­pleted be­fore the end of April is the as­set de­vel­op­ment re­port, which re­views as­sets in the com­mu­nity to as­sist youth with lit­er­acy and poverty is­sues.

“The more pos­i­tive things youth have, the less likely they’re go­ing to get into an­ti­so­cial or risky be­hav­iour like drugs or other ac­tiv­i­ties that could be deemed as risky,” Burke said.

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