Moose Jaw committee working on crystal meth education

·2 min read

Moose Jaw’s Crystal Meth Strategy Committee is calling on youth artists to submit their pieces for the committee’s official logo, as it works to educate the public about the drug's harms.

“The deadline to submit is April 30,” said the project’s co-ordinator, Mary Lee Booth, adding some submissions are in, with more expected to follow.

Though it was first formed in 2019, the committee had to pause its work through most of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic; last month was its first one of full operation.

Booth said the committee has since completed a community feedback survey online asking participants to share everything they know, or not, about crystal meth.

Respondents numbered 418. Of those 304 were parents, 46 identified as educators and three were business owners.

Survey results show participants’ knowledge fell on a spectrum from little, to somewhat knowledgeable to very knowledgeable.

The survey’s questions covered topics about crystal meth’s appearance, what it does to a user’s body and how it’s made.

“It verifies there’s a concern that people need more information and facts,” she said.

To begin that process of public education, Booth said the committee is working with Shaw Communications on a video called Stop Mething Around. Filming is done; it’s to be released in May or June.

There are also plans to create a health studies curriculum for Grade 9 students in Moose Jaw’s Prairie South School Division.

“Two consultants are working on lesson plans for Grade 9 health,” she said.

Committee chair Devon Oleniuk, who’s also a superintendent with the Moose Jaw Police Service, shed some light on the drug’s history in the city. He’s been a service member there for more than three decades.

“About 2015, in terms of Moose Jaw Police Service, we ended up beginning to see it more frequently. That’s really when our statistical numbers started to show up,” he said.

Data provided by the committee shows police members laid 86 charges for crystal meth possession from 2015 through to February 2021. In the 13-year period prior to that, police laid four total possession charges.

Same for trafficking the drug: Before 2016 there were no trafficking charges laid. Starting that year to this February, police laid 26 such charges.

“The situation has really gathered momentum,” he said.

Booth said anyone looking for information or to request educational presentations can contact the committee via email, or through Facebook and Instagram.

Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post