We are losing the war on drugs

We are losing the war on drugs

LETTER: Vernon’s Safety Task Force was destined to fail

Dean Roosevelt’s excellent article (Morning Star, 7 March) regarding the fledgling Safety Task Force losing “focus” should come as no surprise as “homelessness” is a somewhat enigmatic and loosely defined term, falling somewhere between the entrenched drug culture and various degrees of economic hardship compounded by whatever vagaries life has imposed on one’s ability to support oneself in civilized society. Although in my opinion it’s a catch-all that certainly engenders a wide range of emotions, my suspicion is that the probability is skewed toward the former rather than the latter. The current batch of designer drugs, most notably the synthetic opioid fentanyl, are killing our society and to me are a major if not the sole contributor to what inevitably leads to a “homeless” lifestyle that has simply amalgamated itself over time with those whose home life has evaporated leaving few choices other than street life. I believe this latter category is a small proportion of the total and I find it difficult to believe that they have no recourse to the many support groups, both public and private, that society provides to help with their difficulties. There are always choices no matter what frustrations arise as one ques up to try and take advantage of the services available. However, it’s certainly not the responsibility of the City of Vernon to solve the issue or even form a “safety” task force as a stop-gap to somehow ensure a safe environment for its citizens. The concept of a Safety Task Force is simply an admission that our leaders have no idea how to tackle the problem and as usual have resorted to fobbing it off on another study group. If every municipality took a similar approach, we’d end up with an uncoordinated potpourri of locally designed solutions province wide. When the pundits finally admit that drugs, homelessness and its concomitant invasiveness in each of our lives is simply out of control, will people realize that tougher legislation is needed to punish those who feed our precious children and the unfortunate in society stimulants that force them into a street culture. Let’s face it, we are losing the war on drugs and homelessness is simply one of the casualties. Solving this issue at the local level is unrealistic. This is a crisis that can only be addressed through pressuring our provincial and national governing bodies to bring more widespread solutions to the table. The role of the City of Vernon should simply be to enforce its bylaws and vigorously lobby within the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to carry out its mandate – to “secure united action among members in dealing with all matters of common municipal interest.” Solutions through the creation of a local task force was bound to lose focus – by definition. When will our civic leaders ever learn to stick to their knitting?

Alan D. Wilson



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