Buffalo Narrows residents tackle drug issue

by Phil Ambroziak

Enough is enough and it’s time for a change.

That’s how several Buffalo Narrows residents feel about the local drug scene. But instead of just talking about the problem, they’re actually doing something about it.

“It all started with a recent Facebook post,’ explained Tracy Tinker, a lifelong Buffalo Narrows resident. “Someone commented on how angry they are about the presence of crystal meth in our community. From there, other people began commenting on how sick and tired they are of drug dealers having what appears to be free reign in Buffalo Narrows.”

Tinker went on to stress how important it is to take a stand against criminal activity.

“We need to start somewhere, and education is a big part of it,” she said. “That’s why I posted information about crystal meth and the effects it can have on people. From there, I took the initiative to phone the village office and borrow their community meeting place.”

Tinker again turned to social media, this time to advertise a public meeting where concerned residents could come together and discuss drugs, vandalism, as well as other issues currently facing the community. The meeting was held Aug. 24.

“We were expecting maybe 20 people, but were surprised when we had 65 people in attendance,” Tinker noted. “These were just local, grassroots people from the community who want to make a difference.”

The meeting lasted for close to two hours during which time discussions took place to identify concerns and to determine what steps to take next in order to address these concerns. From there, a second meeting was scheduled for Sept. 2 – one that would also include the RCMP, as well as representatives from various agencies throughout the community.

“It was a great meeting,” Tinker said. “Eighty-six people attended including both community members, as well as local agencies including health, social services and the police.”

In addition to featuring more discussion, last night’s meeting also led to the formation of a 16-person working group that will continue to investigate positive solutions.

“We also identified a couple of action items that need to be addressed right away,” Tinker said. “We’re forming a citizens on patrol group and will be doing a lot of advertising for Crime Stoppers and other services. More information about drugs and the impact they can have needs to get out there. We have a lot of momentum going and we want to keep it going.”

Cpl. Adam Buckingham of the Buffalo Narrows RCMP said he’s happy to see the public take an active role in the betterment of the community.

“It’s both an important and a positive thing,” Buckingham said. “Obviously, a multifaceted approach to addressing these issues is better than a singular approach.”

Tinker, meanwhile, claims there are at least eight drug dealers living on her street alone.

“It’s common knowledge, but it shouldn’t have to be accepted,” she said.
Buckingham admits there is a drug problem in Buffalo Narrows, but he could not substantiate Tinker’s earlier comment about the presence of crystal meth.

“Buffalo Narrows is a lot like other communities – there are drugs in town,” he said. “It’s tough to say what the most prevalent drug is. I know there’s cocaine while marijuana is the other substance that comes up the most. We haven’t had any encounters with crystal meth, but that’s not to say it isn’t here.”

According to Statistics Canada, there were 11 reported incidents involving marijuana in Buffalo Narrows in 2014. Of those, three trafficking charges were laid. Of the seven reported incidents involving cocaine, one trafficking charge was laid. No incidents involving crystal meth were reported.

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