Our community has a drug problem. The abuse of drugs, particularly opioids, has become a crisis in our community and we are all deeply saddened by the number of drug overdoses and deaths Neyaashiinigmiing continues to suffer. We are all relations here, and we share equally the terrible pain of losing a loved one too soon. It wounds our souls and leaves us feeling empty and asking “why?”
We do not blame the victims, neither those that have sadly passed, nor those that have happily survived the terrible, life-threatening consequences of drug abuse. We sincerely want to help drug users find their better path to living in a good way, and our many support programs stand ready to meet that need.
We have nothing but disgust and anger for the drug traffickers, however. These are criminals that are supplying potentially fatal illicit chemicals to our community. Drug traffickers are preying upon some of our most vulnerable residents for personal profit, without regard for the terrible harm drug abuse is inflicting on the community. They are enriching themselves by spreading poison throughout our home and risking the lives of our residents and relations. Drug traffickers have no place in Neyaashiinigmiing.
The Council is not in favour of telling people how to live their lives. Every individual is the person most responsible for his or her own actions, and the consequences of them. But when the lifestyle choices of some residents threaten harm to the health of the community, the Council is obliged to take strong action to protect our people – and we will.
The Council, in collaboration with our legal counsel, has prepared a draft Drug Trafficking By-law for consideration. Under the proposed by-law, convicted drug traffickers will be removed from the community and banned for a length of time proportionate to the seriousness of their conviction. This will remove a festering source of illness in Neyaashiinigmiing, and immediately improve the health and safety of our community. It is imperative that we act quickly, and also that we are both firm and fair to all residents and members. Persons removed from the community under the by-law will have an avenue to fairly appeal the decision to the Council.
The proposed by-law is available to the membership for review and we need your input. We invite every member to submit feedback on the proposed by-law in writing. The deadline for feedback will be September 16, 2020, 12:00 PM.
This is not a complete solution, and nobody, least of all the Council, believes it to be one. If we have any hope of healing our community, it must be in joining together as relations, friends and neighbours to push this scourge out of our home Neyaashiinigmiing. Staying silent as the people we know and love are exploited by drug traffickers gets us nowhere. The Council is calling upon all residents to speak up when you know something is wrong.
If you know, or have good reason to believe, that someone is drug trafficking, please, for the sake of all of us, inform the Nawash Police Service at 519-534-1233. If you have concerns about your safety or privacy, you can also leave an anonymous tip for the police at 519-534-5122.
Help us keep our community safe for every generation!