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This article was published 5/12/2018 (1019 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A parliamentary committee in Ottawa has invited local addictions treatment advocate Kim Longstreet to speak to its members next week about the impacts of methamphetamine abuse in Brandon as part of an ongoing nationwide study on the drug’s impacts.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Health is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning to discuss meth abuse in Canada for what will be its third day of proceedings on the topic.
The committee has already heard from several witnesses during its first two meetings, on Nov. 29 and Dec. 4, including a number of people from the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, the Bear Clan Patrol in Winnipeg and the Manitoba Nurses’ Union.
Longstreet, whose son is addicted to meth, has called for better access to addictions treatment options in Brandon, including a detox centre and options for long-term care.
She hosted a town hall on addiction in early October during the most recent municipal election in Brandon and is the founder of a group called the RJ Streetz Foundation, which she named after her son.
"I consider it to be quite an honour to be asked and I take the invitation as a way of showing me that everything that has been going on in our community — not just by myself with my advocating, but otherwise — may be getting recognized," she said.
Longstreet said she first heard from the federal committee in mid-October.
She was offered the chance to attend the meeting in Ottawa, but opted to speak via teleconference so she can stay closer to home so she could be near her son.
Much of her speech will draw from the community impact statement she drafted earlier this year as a response to the sentencing of Leslie Gerald Bisson, the primary target of a major drug investigation called Project Derringer.
Although she aims to touch on her own personal experience during her testimony, Longstreet said the advocate in her also wants to address the effect that meth has had on her community as a whole.
She has since reached out to people locally for input and said she has received interest from the mayor, police chief, Prairie Mountain Health, the support group Westman Families of Addicts, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Brandon Bear Clan.
"It will be all encompassing," she said. "I know those 10 minutes are supposed to be for me and my personal story and I can’t do that. I really need people to understand what our community’s been doing and how we’ve been affected, and what else needs to happen here."
At the committee’s first meeting in November, multiple officials pointed to differing data-collection efforts as affecting the ability to pinpoint the extent of the meth problem in Canada.
Addictions Foundation of Manitoba medical director Ginette Poulin, who helped unveil Brandon’s new Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine Clinic in October, said there are more care beds in Winnipeg for men, even though women appear to be disproportionately using meth, which could result in more child apprehensions by social workers.
The federal government is working on a central drug observatory to verify the data that has already been collected.
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from the Winnipeg Free Press
» Twitter: @mtaylorlee