PRIME Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday announced new, additional steps to combat drug abuse and accused his opponents of supporting policies that would make drugs even more available in Canadian neighbourhoods.
“Drugs destroy lives, rob young people of their future and tear families apart,” said Harper. “That’s why cracking down on illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse is a priority for our government.”
Under Harper, the government launched the National Anti-Drug Strategy in 2006 which is contributing to safer communities by focusing on enforcement, prevention, and treatment.
“Our National Anti-Drug Strategy is working,” Harper said. “But the number of people using drugs is still alarmingly high particularly among young people.”
To counter the damage caused in communities by drug abuse, Harper announced his government would strengthen the National Anti-Drug Strategy by:
* Supporting a national toll-free helpline where parents can get advice to help them recognize the signs of drug use and prevent their children from using drugs in the first place
* Implementing a 20-percent increase in funding for the RCMP’s Clandestine Laboratory teams to target the production of illegal drugs, including grow ops and meth labs
* Renewing the mandate of the Mental Health Commission of Canada for 10 years, and updating it to focus on links between substance abuse and mental health.
“These steps will help protect children and neighbourhoods from illegal drugs,” Harper said. “We will also provide treatment support for those recovering from addiction problems.”
He warned that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and Tom Mulcair’s NDP would follow a different approach, including rolling back the government’s Respect For Communities Act, which gives police, families and residents a say whenever there is a proposal to open a supervised drug injection site in a community.
“For me, keeping dangerous drugs away from our children and out of our neighbourhoods isn’t a point of debate,” Harper said. “It’s just the right thing to do.”
He said: “Justin refuses to acknowledge the damage that drugs do to families and communities. He wants to allow the sale of marijuana in corner stores and increase the number of heroin injection sites, dangerously misguided policies that would only make drugs more accessible to our children.
“Thomas Mulcair supports dangerous, ideological policies that would encourage the use of drugs and increase the health, crime and community safety problems that come with it. Thomas Mulcair’s party “proudly” supports heroin injection sites and welcomes their establishment in more neighbourhoods across the country.
“Unlike the other parties, we will not give up on treating addicts or introduce reckless policies that would encourage the use of illegal drugs.”