Pubdate: Sat, 11 Apr 2015
Source: Barrie Examiner (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015, Barrie Examiner
Author: Cheryl Browne
Page: A2


Authorities Say Local Sales of Ecstasy Appears to Booming

After a three-month undercover investigation into cocaine sales in 
local bars, Barrie police recently arrested five people at two 
separate apartments on suspicion of selling cocaine on the Dunlop 
Street West strip.

"We had multiple complaints that cocaine was being trafficked in some 
of the bars downtown," said Barrie police Det. Const. Derek Kelk.

Kelk said five men and women between the ages of 20 and 35 were 
arrested on March 28.

Another three people were charged after police raided a home on Owen 
Street and seized a quantity of cocaine, heroin, prescription 
narcotics and money this past Wednesday.

While police say they may have slowed the local sale of heroin and 
cocaine temporarily, they're not the only drugs to be concerned about.

According to the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, 70% of youth 
aged 15 to 24 had consumed alcohol and 20% used cannabis, but almost 
4% had tried hallucinogens.

Yet by the time they're aged 25 and over, only 8.4% of adults used 
cannabis, less than 1% used cocaine/crack and less than .5% were 
still using hallucinogens.

Opiates including Oxycodone, Fentanyl and heroin aren't usually 
common in the bar scene, said Kelk, but over and above marijuana and 
hashish, sales of ecstasy - also known on the streets as "molly" - are booming.

"I'm not saying it's college kids selling it," Kelk said. "But they 
are at the bars every weekend."

Fellow street beat officer Const. Ryan Davies, who has been on the 
downtown beat most weekends for the past three years, says it's 
mostly the visitors from the Greater Toronto Area who appear to be 
bringing drugs into Barrie.

"There's a steady stream of people coming up to party in Barrie and 
they always bring drugs," Davies said. "We're seeing college kids 
come downtown doing ecstasy or now known as 'molly' at the bars. 
Sometimes the bar (staff ) are saying people coming in are not 
spending money, probably because they're on something else."

Third-year Georgian College nursing student Miranda Marshall said she 
has lost friends over their new found addiction to drugs such as ecstasy.

"I've personally cut some friends out of my life because of drugs," 
Marshall said while waiting for a city bus.

"Most of them are not in school anymore; it takes over their lives 
110%," she said.

She estimates out of 50 people she knows who frequent local bars, 
roughly half of them have dropped out of school because of an 
addiction to ecstasy.

"It's like they have no interest in alcohol anymore; they're just 
interested in drugs now," she said.

And not many of them are reaching out for help, said Brian Muscat, 
director of student success services at Georgian.

"You never really know why a student is skipping class," Muscat said. 
"We've had 3,700 counsellor appointments with students, and we 
document why they had a meeting. Only 79 people indicated they were 
having some kind of problem with substance abuse."

And Muscat pointed out some of those visits included students dealing 
with friends and family's addiction issues as well.

However, Muscat said the college knows the transition from high 
school to post-secondary living can be very stressful, and some 
students experiment too much once out from under their parents' watchful eyes.

In mid-January, Georgian College, together with Centennial College, 
announced it will share a mental-health innovation funding grant from 
the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to extend care to 
students experiencing problems with mental health and addictions.

"We'll be hiring a youth transition worker to help those students 
deal with the transition to post-secondary that doesn't include the 
use of drugs and alcohol," Muscat said.

Davies said he believes there's always going to be marijuana and 
crack cocaine at nightclubs.

But since Oxycontin was replaced by OxyNeo - which is harder to crush 
and smoke - and, he's seen a marked decline in Fentanyl use since 
several widely published deaths by overdose in the past five years, 
he has seen other drugs take their place.

"There's always been a problem in the downtown core, we're just 
learning a little more about it lately," Davies said.

Wednesday's arrest included a 49-year-old man who was charged with 
two counts of drug possession, cocaine and heroin, and two counts of 
drug possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Another man, age 52, was charged with drug possession, cocaine, and a 
36-year-old woman was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing 
to appear in court and for theft.
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