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Tag-team community plan against drugs


Le fentanyl est une nouvelle drogue populaire de choix parmi les utilisateurs dans les grandes villes, avec des résultats mortels. Le Bureau de santé de l’est de l’Ontario et d’autres groupes organisent une série de forums d’information publique, en mai, sur la sensibilisation aux drogues. —photo archives

The Town of Hawkesbury and other Eastern Ontario communities are taking a proactive response to rising public concerns about the latest fatalities reported about young people using drugs like fentanyl. Mayor Jeanne Charlebois announced, during the April 12 committee of the whole session of counties council, about a drug information forum planned for May 4 at the Robert Hartley Arena, with parents and youth of Hawkesbury invited to attend. “It will be a good event,” Charlebois said. The OPP, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), district school boards andmunici- palities, with support fromother community agencies and service clubs, are taking the lead on organizing a series of drug awareness and information gatherings, during May, with two separate sessions scheduled for each evening’s event. One session will be for Francophones and the other session for Anglophones. “We are planning seven (events) in all of Eastern Ontario,” said Robyn Hurtubise, EOHU programmanager for injury and subs- tancemisuse, during a later phone interview. The first session scheduled is May 1 at Glengarry District High School.The second will be in Hawkesbury and the calendar schedule for the other five are on the EOHU website at Plans for the forum series began earlier

Ottawa concerning youths dying or being hospitalized due to overdose incidents invol- ving fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiode drug prescribed for pain treatment. The EOHU began receiving requests from dis- trict school boards for help in telling both, parents and students, about the danger of fentanyl, which has become the latest “fad” in the recreational drug scene. The EOHU also received calls fromother groups about the issue and began making contacts with police, school boards, and others to organize the information forum series. The format for each evening’s event will feature guest speakers talking about the risks of substance use and abuse, inclu-

ding alcohol and the more common drugs like marijuana and cocaine, and include information about the current “drug fads” like fentanyl and oxycontin. There will also be a general question period at the end of each session. Hurtubise emphasized that the goal of the forum is to provide information that parents and young people can use to understand the problemof substance use and abuse. Police departments monitor local drug scenes to note any changes in what is available or be- coming popular.The focus for the forums is tomake the general public, including young people, aware of the risk attached to street drugs, with emphasis on the dangers of “fad”

drugs, because there is no guarantee about their origin or quality. “We are being proactive here,” she said, adding that fentanyl use for now is limited to the larger urban centres. “Our current statistics indicate that this is not an issue here (Eastern Ontario region). Getting that conversation started between parents and youth is what’s important.” For Russell Township,The NationMuni- cipality, and Village of Casselman areas, the scheduled dates are May 11 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School in the Village of Russell in Russell Township, and May 31 at Ecole secondaire de Casselman in the Village of Casselman.


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