WINNIPEG — The rapid rise of methamphetamine use and distribution has resulted in an Illicit Drug Task Force being created through a partnership with all three levels of government.
The task force will work to develop solutions to combat the use and distribution of illicit drugs, such as methamphetamine, opioids, cocaine and hallucinogens over the short and long term.
“Police continue to identify methamphetamine as a key driver of violent crime in our city and, by themselves, no one level of government can successfully address the challenges of methamphetamine as well as other illicit drugs,” said Mayor Brian Bowman
“It requires a commitment from all levels of government to find ways to strengthen prevention and treatment, as well as enforcement, and this task force is intended to do just that.”
An oversight committee will include members from the city, province and federal government, chaired by Karen Herd, deputy minister of Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living and Michael Jack, the City of Winnipeg’s chief corporate services officer.
Robert-Falcon Ouellette, MP for Winnipeg Centre, says the task force is an opportunity for governments to work collaboratively and put forth concrete solutions to combat opioids and other illicit drugs.
“We need to listen to the people doing the work on the ground,” he said.
The task force will identify areas to improve existing programming relating to the prevention, treatment and deterrence of illicit drug use, while also finding areas to improve enforcement, such as looking at practices employed in other jurisdictions, and explore Criminal Code changes that could further deter and combat the illicit drug trade.
Health professionals, social service providers, law enforcement, first responders and the legal and academic communities will also be consulted for advice.
The task force is expected to release its first report in June 2019.