In recent years, Lethbridge has been negatively affected by the escalating drug crisis. These effects include drug-related behaviour in or around the downtown area as well as increasing petty crime and discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia in public places. At City Council's direction, community consultations have been initiated with the ultimate goal of developing a community drug strategy.
3-Phase Community Consultation Process
- Phase 1 - October 2018
Four facilitated sessions were held Oct. 10 & 11 where stakeholders, business people and any other interested community members could discuss how the drug epidemic is affecting them and share ideas on constructive solutions to deal with the negative effects in the community. A total of 288 people participated.
This phase of the consultation process produced a What We Heard report, which was presented to City Council Nov. 5.
View the Nov. 5 presentation to City Council members
- Phase 2 - November 2018
This phase of consultations will identify desired responses to the drug crisis, any barriers to implementing those responses, and will produce the elements to create a draft community-based drug strategy. The What We Heard
report will inform Phase 2 consultations which will involve a community
strategy session in late November with up to 40 targeted stakeholders such as
EMS, business people, social service providers, police, housing agencies, and
harm reduction service providers.
- Phase 3 - November/December 2018
This final phase of consultations in late November or early December will include a working group of representatives from key organizations and agencies in Lethbridge who will develop an action plan and draft terms of reference for the Council-appointed committee. The terms of reference will require approval by City Council. Once terms of reference are approved, the committee will be established.
The ongoing drug crisis is probably one of the most significant challenges our community has ever faced. In addition to the human cost in terms of addictions and overdose deaths, it has created critical and pressing challenges for residents and businesses in Lethbridge.
City Council taking leadership to address the need for a community drug strategy
Seeking to bring people from all sides of this issue together to collaborate on solutions, City Council voted on Aug. 7, 2018 to hold a series of facilitated community sessions where any interested residents could share how the ongoing drug epidemic is affecting them and collaborate on potential solutions. Council also voted to establish a special committee to oversee the development of a community drug strategy.
In mid-September, residents were invited to participate in four community consultations held over two days, on Oct. 10 and 11. These sessions are part of a broader consultation process, which includes three phases to be conducted over approximately 10 weeks aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- Provide opportunities for Lethbridge citizens to discuss their experiences and suggest solutions
- Define and agree upon challenges that can be addressed
- Identify community-based strategies to address these challenges
- Identify any gaps or barriers to implementing these strategies
- Recommend terms of reference that set out the mandate and scope of work for the ad hoc committee established by City Council