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Community Guide SS 2017

Wellington County to consider $30,000 in funding for drug-use prevention

by David Meyer

GUELPH

Wellington County council has turned over to its administration, finance and personnel committee a request for $30,000 in funding for a drug-use prevention group.

If the committee is in favour, it will mean extra funding can begin this fall for the Guelph Wellington drug strategy committee.

The request came from the county’s Police Services Board at county council last month.

Board chairman Lynda White said the program began in 2006, and the county started funding it in 2007. She explained the treatment is not just for young people at risk, but also their entire families.

White said the group’s budget was $101,000 last year, with the city paying $77,000 and the county paying $33,000.

She said the Police Services Board wants to consider funding for every part of the county eventually.

OPP Inspector Scott Smith was enthusiastic about the program and the results it is getting.

He told council he heard from one young boy at one of the meetings who had been in trouble with the law “for some time.”

Smith said at a recent meeting the boy stated, “I had an opportunity for three fights today - and I turned them all down - and I made the right decision.”

Smith said the program was first offered to Fergus and Mount Forest, but only the latter had enough people interested in it to comply. He said it was so successful there that participants and entire families, asked for it to be run again. The second time around, Fergus took part, and Erin residents expressed some interest, but organizers were unable to find enough people in Erin to take part.

Smith said he does a lot of reading about youth problems and drugs, and he said one problem he sees repeated is, “There’s about a zillion programs. We need to latch onto one and run with it.”

He added there is now scholarly evidence proving programs such as the one being offered actually do work in communities.

But, he said, this one started with a provincial grant that no longer exists. He said the program is “engaging family and youth as the program becomes more widespread.”

White urged county council to support the program for this year and consider spending the extra money in September. She added the $30,000 cost can likely be found in unspent portions of the police budget, and could be treated as a variance in either the police budget or in the budget of social services.

The various agencies involved in the drug strategy committee include:

- Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington;

- Wellington County Ontario Works;

- Trellis;

- Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health;

- Women in Crisis;

- Stonehenge Therapeutic Community;

- Upper Grand Family Health Team;

- Mount Forest Family Health Team;

- Fergus Community Resource Centre;

- Guelph Community Health Centre;

- Guelph Police Services; and

- Wellington County OPP.

The report presented to the Police Services Board by Raechelle Deveraux, of the committee, and student Intern Gilliam McCallum, indicated that in 2008 a needs assessment for a drug strategy in Wellington County showed “high rates of youth substance use compared to the provincial average; a strong need for expanded youth drug prevention initiatives; and a need for evidence based drug prevention programming and family focused drug prevention initiatives.”

A study done in 2009-10 also showed the need for such a program to reduce drug use in the county.

In that year, there were 203 Controlled Drugs and Substances Act charges laid in the county, and another 228 Criminal Code charges.

The policing cost for those was $100,000.

The goals of the Strengthening Families and Families and Schools together program are to:

- reduce children’s intention to use alcohol and drugs;

- reduce other behaviour problems;

- increase children’s resilience and life skills;

- increase positive and effective parenting; and

- increase family communication.

 

Vol 44 Issue 28

July 15, 2011

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