Crystal Meth Community Task Forces
Crystal Meth Victoria Society (now the Crystal Meth Prevention Society of BC) has worked to spearhead the formation of a task force in the Greater Victoria area to combat the manufacture, trafficking and use of crystal methamphetamine, and to coordinate community resources to provide much needed support for meth involved persons and their families. This Crystal Meth Community Task Force ran successfully from Oct. 2005 to Feb. 2006 and benefitted from the contributions of up to 150 volunteers.
Why was a task force necessary?
A homeless count carried out in Victoria on January 15, 2005, recorded approximately 700 people without shelter. Most of the homeless were from the Greater Victoria area - it is a 'home-grown' problem. A subsequent survey of 220 participants found that the most frequent reasons for homelessness were abuse, addiction, mental health issues, and eviction. The use of street drugs was more related to younger participants (less than 25 years).
Statistics gathered by the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society over the past five years show an alarming rise in the numbers of youth who use crystal meth more than any other drug, increasing from 11 per cent in 2000-01 to 56 per cent in 2004-05.
The individual, societal, economic and environmental impacts of this drug can be far reaching. We have only to look at what is happening in neighbouring American states to understand the threat this drug poses to our youth, communities and society as a whole. The Oregon legislature, for example, has acknowledged that use and addiction to crystal meth have reached epidemic proportions in that state, and has declared a state of emergency as of July 1, 2005.
The societal consequences of crystal meth include: increasing violent crime, including homicide, assault and sexual abuse; property crime; endangering children who may be exposed to the toxic, flammable and explosive manufacturing process; creating toxic waste from crystal meth labs; and inducing mental illness, psychosis and death.
City of Victoria Police indicate that crystal-meth related crimes are increasing at a "shocking" rate.
Role of Task Force
The task forces were modeled on a successful task force implemented in Maple Ridge, where a majority of the 400 homeless people in the city were found to be addicted to crystal meth. Through the efforts of the Maple Ridge task force, approximately 370 people have received help to get off the street and into safer, healthier and more secure situations.
Given the population, geographical scope and number of municipalities, our advisors recommended we organize task forces by School District. The first task force was implemented in S.D. 61 (Greater Victoria) and a second in S.D. 62 (Sooke).
Task Force Structure
Click on committee names to view their action plans.
The task force is overseen by a Facilitator and each of the three pillars is led by a Chairperson. The three pillars' missions are:
- education: aims to stop the spread of crystal meth by educating and actively engaging our young people and the community about the impacts of this poisonous drug.
- enforcement: aims to interrupt and stop the manufacture and distribution of crystal meth in our community, and ensure that the police, crown prosecutors, and the judiciary are fully informed.
- treatment: aims to bring together community resources and focus them on treating every meth addict as a person, and develop a plan for that person that will lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Within the three pillars are 15 committees, as set out above.
What has been the Task Force's Approach?
Once the task force and its campaign is publicly launched, each committee will have 30 days to develop 90-day action plans. A public meeting will be held at the end of the 30-day period, at which each committee will present their 90-day plans. Following the 90-day period, next steps will include:
- Evaluate what went right and wrong.
- Meth will remain a problem. Identify the appropriate response for moving forward after the specific campaign period ends.
How Can You Get Involved?
It will take a united and coordinated effort on the part of hundreds of volunteers to successfully combat this drug and to save our youth and community. You can be part of the solution:
- Start or Volunteer with a community task force in your area.
- Watch for information in the media and on the website for information about public meetings.
- Donate to the Society to support its ongoing efforts to educate and raise awareness. [link].
Who should be Involved on the Task Force?
A broad range of skills, professional background and work experience is needed. Some examples include all of the following:
|All local media
||Recovering meth addicts
||People who have a loved one, friend, or associate addicted to meth
|Chamber of Commerce
||District PAC chairperson
||School District Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent
|School Drug Counsellor
||Youth Addiction counselors
|Outreach School Teachers, Counsellors, and staff
|Police / RCMP
||Refuse disposal companies
||Retail business community
|Member of Parliament and staff
||Member of the Legislature and staff
||Municipal/City elected officials
|Provincial Crown Counsel
||Federal & Provincial parole officers
||Organizations offering shelter
|Emergency Room doctors
||Food Banks and Soup Kitchens
||Mental health workers
Together we can help our youth and community
Be Crystal Clear TM