Albertans want to see the growing tide of drug-fuelled organized crime in Canada fought with renewed vigor - both to increase public safety and for the general good of all rural and urban communities.
According to the recently released United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes World Drug Report 2009, Canada has become a major player in the manufacturing of hard synthetic drugs, particularly highly addictive methamphetamine.
"Canada-based organized crime groups' participation in the methamphetamine trade has grown significantly over the past six years," the report says. "Law enforcement intelligence notes that Asian organized crime and traditional outlaw motorcycle gangs operating in Canada had increased the amount of methamphetamine they manufactured for export, primarily to the U.S."
While it may be tempting to say that the hard drug problems in Canada are focused in the B.C. lower mainland and in the greater Toronto area, the fact is the illegal drug manufacturing business has made itself at home across Canada, including right here in West Central Alberta.
Not so long ago one of the largest-ever Canadian methamphetamine drug labs was uncovered near Cremona thanks to a public tip. How many other similar labs are operating between Calgary and Red Deer today remains anyone's guess - but to say they are not there would surely be naive.
The United Nations has launched an awareness campaign in an attempt to raise awareness of the worldwide, and indeed the local, danger posed by illegal drugs.
The campaign, titled "Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs", communicates that the destructive effects of illicit drugs should be a concern for everyone.
Where in the past illegal hard drugs such as heroin had to be imported from overseas, a wholly new generation of hard drugs are now being made quickly and apparently in large quantities right here in Canada, for use at home and for export abroad.
An examination at any Red Deer or Didsbury provincial court docket these days will invariably show numerous drug-related charges, in many cases related to hard drugs such as methamphetamine. And many of those same cases will involve robberies, assaults and thefts fuelled by the need for those very same illegal drugs being manufactured in Canada.
Although the illegal drug trade has, of course, been around for many, many years, the rise of Canada-based manufacturing is a worrying new trend, both for law enforcement and for society in general.
As always, ordinary rural Albertans can play a small but vital part in combating this growing danger of illegal drug manufacturing by reporting suspicious activities on farms and acreages to police through Crime Stoppers or any local RCMP detachment.