Pubdate: Sat, 21 Oct 2006
Source: Beacon Herald, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Beacon Herald
Author: James Morgan


The Perth County Task Force on Crystal Meth Is Looking at Holding a 
Summit on Issues Associated With the Dangerous Illegal Drug in January.

The summit will focus on issues of addiction and treatment in the 
health-care system, enforcement, and response from emergency 
services. "Being able to share that information with our colleagues 
and certainly in our corresponding communities would certainly allow 
them the opportunity to learn from what we've experienced," Penny 
Cardno, mental health program director for Huron-Perth Healthcare 
Alliance, said at Thursday's task force meeting.

However, since Bruce County is so far the only community to express 
interest in attending the summit, some task force members worried 
that there would not be enough interest from other communities.

There was little concern, however, from Stratford Central Secondary 
School principal Martin Ritsma, who said that once the summit is 
advertised, it will likely get more attention from other communities.

"If you build it, they will come," he said.

The task force will be sending a letter to federal Justice Minister 
Vic Toews asking for changes to the law governing illegal drugs in Canada.

Currently, anyone found in possession of so-called precursors to 
crystal meth, which could include ingredients and equipment, cannot 
be convicted. The task force wants the Controlled Drugs and 
Substances Act changed so that people in possession of precursors to 
methamphetamine with the obvious intent of manufacturing the drug can 
be more easily prosecuted.

The type of illegal methamphetamine being discovered when users are 
convicted in Perth County is changing, said representatives of two 
police forces.

Sgt. Mike Bellai of the Stratford police drug enforcement unit said 
most of the meth they are seeing lately is in the crystal form, and 
not the powdered form, known as "pig-barn meth" most often made in 
illegal labs locally.

Sgt. Bellai and Det.-Sgt. Rick Hawley of the OPP's drug enforcement 
section said the difference could mean more meth is coming from 
outside of the area.

Local police have discovered no new meth labs recently. Crystal-meth 
related arrests, however, were made in Stratford in September.

Efforts to curb the spread of crystal meth locally will be 
highlighted by a major national television current affairs program.

Camera crews from CTV's W-Five were at the Task Force's September 
meeting to capture the discussion on videotape. That episode, which 
will discuss crystal meth across Canada will be broadcast late this fall.
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