Old Massett resident Frank Collison is taking action on the tragedies caused by alcohol and drug abuse, after witnessing the problems in his communities.
Mr. Collison has prepared a petition asking citizens of Old Massett and Masset to confront known drug dealers and people who supply alcohol to minors, and if the problem persists, banish them from the community.
The petition also asks the communities to agree to the following preamble:
We believe that the youth of our communities are at serious risk of becoming addicted to the many illegal mind-altering drugs that are on the market.
We also believe that the values and standards of human decency and behaviour are seriously deteriorating due to the ready availability of drugs in our communities.
We further believe that the suppliers of illegal and mind-altering drugs in our communities must be stopped and held accountable for their actions.
We also believe that the person or persons purchasing and supplying alcohol to minors must be stopped and held accountable.
Mr. Collison wrote the petition in April and sought support from the Old Massett Village Council.
Although he heard nothing from the council, he did notice the petition was eventually placed on the front desk and has been filling up with signatures.
Since then it has been circulating to local businesses.
The petition was also sent to the Masset council which passed it on to the RCMP.
Councillor Ed Woode was intrigued by the petition wording, which suggests, “Anyone who persists in supplying drugs or Â… alcohol to minors will be asked to leave our communities.”
“Old Massett can do this, but we can’t,” he said.
Sergeant Jim Vardy said he supports the petition and thinks of it as a precursor to the crime prevention from social development approach he’s striving for.
Mr. Collison plans to hold a meeting next month to discuss further strategies to deal with these issues.
He thinks it is time for people to get involved in more personal action on the issues.
“People in the community know who are selling drugs and buying booze for younger kids. There is a silent curtain that hasn’t been lifted,” says Mr. Collison.
He is also aware the police are basically helpless unless a crime has been witnessed.
Mr. Collison says in 30 years of public service, as a band councillor, vice-president of the Council of the Haida Nation, school board trustee and chair, he has seen people’s apathy. “People need to take a firmer stand on moral and ethical issues,” he says.
If nothing but a committee to look for solutions comes of his petition, Mr. Collison will feel somewhat successful.
“It is a long-term problem. I don’t think we’ll ever find the ultimate solutions,” he says.
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