Pubdate: Tue, 25 Mar 2014
Source: Southern Gazette, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2014 Transcontinental Media
Author: Paul Herridge


Burin Peninsula District RCMP Staff Sergeant Wayne Edgecombe said 
'youth involvement in crime' has been added as a divisional priority 
for the upcoming year.

Invited to meet with the Burin Peninsula Joint Town Council Wednesday 
evening, he acknowledged that doesn't necessarily mean just dealing 
with youths who have run afoul of the law, but also involves 
targeting how crime affects young people.

He explained in that regard, drugs and youth will be a big part of 
the annual policing plan.

S/Sgt. Edgecombe said he has been meeting with various town councils 
of late as he attempts to identify the top priorities at the community level.

In those meetings, he indicated prescription drugs continue to be the 
major problem.

"We're hearing the same things from everybody."

In his 30 years on the Burin Peninsula, in various policing 
capacities, S/Sgt. Edgecombe said he has seen the evolution of drug 
use in the region move from marijuana and hashish, to cocaine, with a 
period for a while where ecstasy was popular.

While those drugs are still around, he noted prescription pills like 
OxyContin and Percocet are now the drugs of choice on the peninsula.

S/Sgt. Edgecombe said a change in the federal policing mandate 
towards a target-driven approach, rather than commodity-driven, is 
having an impact on the illegal drug trade in this region.

As a result, instead of contraband alcohol from St. Pierre-Miquelon, 
the Burin RCMP Customs and Excise unit is now focusing more on 
targeting illicit drugs.

He acknowledged the unit has had "very good success" to date, laying 
around 28-30 trafficking charges in relation to street-level drug dealers.

He revealed the Burin Peninsula District detachment itself has laid 
another 18-20 charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

"We've had good results, too, and it's only going to get better."

S/Sgt. Edgecombe, who noted traffic services and violence prevention 
- - both provincial priorities last year - will continue to be among 
the RCMP's main concerns once again, indicated the region has more 
resources to combat the drug trade than ever but said it will still 
be a hard fight.


Ruby Hoskins, chair of the Stand Against Drugs on the Burin Peninsula 
Committee, was also invited to speak to the Joint Town Council 
meeting and shared an overview of some of the group's work to date. 
She spoke about the rise of illegal prescription drug use in the 
region, pointing out the committee is aware of "pockets on the Burin 
Peninsula," where doctors are "more eager" to write prescriptions for 
some of the more potent narcotics.

She said the group is lobbying government for a monitoring system for 
doctors that would flag when the number of prescriptions for 
narcotics is way above average.

Mrs. Hoskins said the group has also been lobbying the province "very 
aggressively" for new legislation similar to Alberta's Protection of 
Children Abusing Drugs Act.

"We're hoping to see something ( from government) in the fall."

Meanwhile, she suggested the need for an addiction treatment centre 
on the Burin Peninsula - or if not here elsewhere in the province - 
has come to the forefront as an issue in the past three months.

"We need it. We have to have it here."

Mrs. Hoskins said town councils have to take a more proactive 
approach to lobbying government.

Burin Peninsula Joint Town Council chair Everett Farwell suggested 
the group was open to helping the Stand Against Drugs Committee in its efforts.

He encouraged Mrs. Hoskins to outline for the Joint Town Council how 
it could assist in the process of establishing an addiction centre in 
the region, or for more treatment facilities in the province.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom