© Heather Taweel
Lynn Bradley and Wade MacRae of the Native Council of P.E.I. speak to MLAs on the provincial Standing Committee on Health and Social Development. The committee is holding public hearings on the issue of prescription drug addiction in P.E.I.
Prince Edward Island Opposition Leader Steven Myers has issued a news release criticizing the Justice minister for skipping hearings on addicitons taking place in the province this week.
The provincial Standing Committee on Health and Social Development has been holding the hearings in different communities across the Island, beginning in Charlottetown Tuesday evening.
Groups and individuals making presentations to the committee have been painting a picture of a province with a problem with prescription drug addiction.
Myers says he strongly believes Justice Minister Janice Sherry needs to attend the hearings.
“During the spring legislative session, the minister seemed to be rather clueless on the connection between addictions and crime, refuting the facts presented to her by our MLAs,” stated Myers. “Janice Sherry fails to understand the epidemic of addictions, which in turn is fueling rising crime rates, all of which are harming our communities.”
Myers pointed out that during Tuesday’s meeting, data released from the Charlottetown police department showed that every robbery in Charlottetown in the last two years has a direct connection with addictions. Furthermore, over 90 per cent of property crimes in the capital are associated with drug use. Myers says these figures support facts Progressive Conservative MLAs presented to the legislature in the spring.
“Addictions are an all-encompassing concern, which requires a cross-ministerial approach,” Myers said. “It is clear Janice Sherry needs to get up to speed, and begin to understand the important role her ministry must play in order to address addictions on Prince Edward Island.”
Myers says the PC caucus will continue to lobby Sherry to support the immediate establishment of a provincial youth addictions treatment facility.