For the second month in row, Estevan Police Service (EPS) witnessed a significant increase in calls for service. While some of the spikes were seen in property crimes and mischiefs, a number of calls were related to methamphetamines.
“We are still seeing an increase of meth in this community,” said Estevan Police Chief Paul Ladouceur. “We are seeing more meth arrests than normal.”
There is a concern that this drug has now fully made its way to Estevan. The chief pointed out that usually, it doesn’t take long after a drug becomes popular in bigger cities like Regina for it to spread over to smaller communities around.
Methamphetamine contamination affects not just the city of Estevan, but the surrounding towns as well. Chief said that meth-related activity is something that they now see more often. He asked the community to step up and help to battle this problem.
“We are encouraging people if they have the information or some knowledge (about methamphetamine-related activities) to reach out if not directly to us (EPS), then to Crime Stoppers. If you do reach out to the police and you want to remain anonymous, the police have an obligation to keep that anonymity. So there shouldn’t be a fear… We need that information. We cannot be everywhere at the same time,” said Ladouceur.
The chief called meth a “drug devil” that makes people do anything. He has come across the meth craze during his work in Ontario, which was accompanied by an increase in home invasions and physical aggression cases. Unfortunately, the same side effects of the popularity of meth can be now seen in the Estevan. As an example the chief recalled the recent incidents of stabbing and beating with a baseball bat.
The problem was discussed at the recent police board meeting. Police board member and City Councillor Lyle Yanish reminded that prior to legalization of marijuana there was a big concern within the policing world that it would provoke the spike in popularity of cheaper drugs, as organized crime would need to get their money back.
“I do remember a couple of years ago, when we were talking about legalization of marijuana, that we would see a meth problem,” said Yanish.
Ladouceur said that while the intent is to reduce organized crime or the stronghold that organized crime has over marijuana, it was clear that legalization of the substance wouldn’t put organized crime out of business. Not only now the organized crime runners are pushing on other drugs, but they also find their ways into controlling and benefiting from legal dispensaries. The chief said that it’s not the case in Estevan, but it was something he’s seen in other communities all across Canada.
However, the methamphetamine problem is the one that definitely exists in the Estevan area and will take a community effort to get resolved.