Drug Prevention Through Community Engagement

File picture of the Piikani Nation. Photo by Robin Lee Twigg.
By Robin Lee Twigg

After 4 years the Piikani Nation detachment commander, Ray Starzynski wants to reach out to community members to provide an update on drug enforcement within Piikani.
He adds that the community must work together to effectively address the issue facing Piikani and so many other communities across Canada.
“Since arriving I have made drug enforcement a priority for our detachment,” He said.
Between January 2014 and December 2017 Piikani Nation RCMP have completed and laid charges on over 82 drug-related investigations.
This includes 11 charges related to drug trafficking.
These numbers are more than double the 4 previous years. “Our success in dealing with drugs is a direct result of community engagement and support from Piikani members who want to keep drugs out of our community and away from our children,” Starzynski said.
According to Starzynski Piikani is no different than any other community across Canada.
Adding that drug issues are happening in other First Nation, settlement, town or cities across the country.
However one of the ways Piikani is different, which he believes is our strength relates to the size of our nation and the relations and knowledge each member has about their neighbours, family and friends.
“We know there are homes struggling with substance abuse, we know the people actively seeking drugs to satisfy their addiction,” he said.
“We know the houses that are opening their doors allowing dealers to sell this poison in our community to our nations members,” he added.
He goes on to say that drugs have reached a crisis point in many communities and are destroying families and homes.
The RCMP have to work within the rules of law and “search warrants are not easily obtained or granted, which makes it challenging.”
“Community members often ask ‘How come you don’t kick their door, you know their selling drugs?’” Starzynski said.
“We want to complete search warrants and charge those involved but we can only do this with your help,” he said.
Some of the ways the community can become involved are to call in any and all incidents you witness involving drugs to the RCMP as it is happening or as soon as possible.
Make sure to include dates, times, locations and persons involved.
Starzynski also said the Piikani Nation RCMP are only a small piece of the puzzle when we look at removing drugs from our community.
“Keeping drugs out of our community takes a collaborative approach by all community members, elders, youth, various departments, leadership and the RCMP,” He said.
If anyone would like to speak with Starzynksi regarding the above or to provide information relating to drugs in our community I can be reached at the Piikani RCMP office (403)965-2001.

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