PRE­VENT­ING ANOTHER TRAGEDY

Or­ga­niz­ers set up meet­ing to talk about drug over­doses.

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY SHARON MONTGOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

The re­cent death of a 29-yearold New Water­ford man has prompted the or­ga­ni­za­tion of A Town That Cares — a group that is step­ping up to bat­tle drug ad­dic­tion.

Evan Web­ber, 29, of New Water­ford died May 6 of a drug over­dose.

“It was a heart­break­ing fu­neral,” said Buddy Pen­ney, one of the founders of the A Town That Cares group.

The group has or­ga­nized a town hall meet­ing on Tues­day, May 23 at the New Water­ford fire hall at 6:30 p.m.

“Our main goal is to see a men­tal health/drug ad­dic­tion cen­tre in in­dus­trial Cape Bre­ton and we want to see what the three lev­els of govern­ment can do to help us out.”

Pen­ney and John Bis­son formed the group af­ter Web­ber’s death.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­niz­ers, Web­ber had been seek­ing help for a drug ad­dic­tion for the last year, but kept run­ning into de­lays and a lack of re­sources.

Pen­ney said he knows 15 young peo­ple who died of drug over­doses and/or men­tal health is­sues in the past two years.

He and Bis­son set up a Face­book page think­ing they might get fol­low­ers in New Water­ford.

“We never ex­pected things to ex­plode the way they did.”

He said the drug prob­lem isn’t just an is­sue in New Water­ford but rather in is in what he terms, in­dus­trial Cape Bre­ton.

“The prob­lem is in all com­mu­ni­ties.”

Pen­ney said the meet­ing will iden­tify the death of Cape Bre­ton­ers due to men­tal health and drug ad­dic­tions which are of­ten re­lated.

Pen­ney said all three can­di­dates on the Cape Bre­ton Cen­tre bal­lot in the up­com­ing May 30 elec­tion have in­di­cated they will at­tend the town hall in­clud­ing Lib­eral MLA David Wil­ton, Louie Piovesan of the Tories and Tammy Martin of the NDP.

He is also ex­pect­ing Chief Peter McIsaac of the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice and Tom Blanchard of Tal­bot House.

Pen­ney said he has also been in con­tact with Sen­a­tor Ver­non White, for­merly of New Water­ford, who is an ad­vo­cate for men­tal health.

Pen­ney said they are cur­rently set­ting up a board of di­rec­tors that so far in­cludes Dr. Venkata Pup­pala, Dist. 11 Coun. Ken­dra Coombes, re­tired nurse Deb­bie Cox-Reid, Tony Nemis of Seav­iew Manor, Shawn Mur­ray of the Ally Cen­tre of Cape Bre­ton, as well as Ja­son Camp­bell, Shirley Lead­beater, An­drea Haw­ley and Lynn Webb Pen­ney.

Buddy Pen­ney said Evan Web­ber’s fa­ther Michael will also be in­volved in the group.

“He will be a big part of this as soon as he is ready. He has al­ready been pro­mot­ing this group and meet­ing.”

Pen­ney said the speak­ers will in­clude peo­ple bat­tling drug ad­dic­tions and fam­ily who lost loved ones to drugs.

“A mu­si­cian from South Bar will be open­ing up the even­ing with a song he wrote for his late girl­friend who he lost to men­tal health is­sues,” he said.

Pen­ney

Bis­son

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