Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jul 2000
Source: Daily Press, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000 Daily Press (CN ON)
Contact:  187 Cedar Street South, Timmins, Ontario, Canada P4N 7G1
Fax: (705) 268-7373


A highly addictive drug once associated with major cities is slowly moving 
into the country's smaller cities and rural areas.

Experts in addictions say there has been a huge increase in the use of 
crack cocaine in small  communities across Ontario. That doesnt exclude 

There has been evidence of crack cocaine use in the city, said Timmins 
Police Const. Joseph  Romualdi.

I've seen a steady increase, he noted.

While crack use is increasing, the officer said it hasnt developed into a 
major problem in the city.

Crack is not really seen on the streets - its usually sold as cocaine, 
Romualdi said.

Crack is made by melting powder cocaine and adding baking soda and 
sometimes other substances such as kitchen cleaners. The mixture is cooled 
and hardened into a rock which is smoked with a pipe and produces a high 
that lasts about 20 or 30 minutes.

Its highly addictive, Romualdi said.

Smoking crack cocaine gives the user a quicker high than cocaine, but a 
cocaine high lasts longer. The crack user, therefore, needs to use more of 
the drug to keep the high going.

The people that are using the crack cocaine are making it themselves, 
Romualdi said.

As a result, it is difficult for officers to know how prevalent the use of 
crack is in Timmins. During his 16-months on the drug enforcement unit, 
Romualdi said he recalls only one seizure of crack.

In many cases, however, Romualdi has seen evidence of crack - baking soda 
and crack pipes.

Its going to become more prevalent, Romualdi predicted. The only way we 
make a dent into it is going after the bigger (cocaine) dealers on the street.

Nishnawbe-Aski Police Division Cmdr. Eric Cheechoo said its difficult to 
determine the use of crack in the 44 detachments which run up along the 
coast of James Bay.

We do have drug problems in our community, he said, adding he is unsure 
whether crack cocaine is on the list of problem drugs.

Cheechoo said while there are many cases of marijuana and hash seized, 
there is not a lot of cocaine seized.

The service is currently promoting the use of Crime Stoppers which would 
help various detachments plan seizures. He said many people wont call in 
tips directly, rather the police hear it through third or fourth sources.

There's a lot of talk, but talk is talk, Cheechoo said.

He added the Nishnawbe-Aski Police encourages people to anonymously call in 
their tips to 1-800-222-8477.
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