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Fort Macleod groups host fentanyl information session Wednesday

Conrad Van Hierden

Conrad Van Hierden

MICHAEL MCTIGHE, MACLEOD GAZETTE STAFF
Fort Macleod residents are invited to learn more this week about the opioid epidemic.
The Fort Macleod Crime Prevention Advisory Committee, Fort Macleod Drug Coalition and the 2309 Army Cadets will host an information session on fentanyl.
The session will be held at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
“This is a crisis as we have never seen before,” said Conrad Van Hierden, chairman of the Fort Macleod Crime Prevention Advisory Committee.
The information session is being held to inform people of the drug and its effect on individuals, families and communities.
The session will also present information about the work of the Fort Macleod Drug Coalition, Crime Prevention Advisory Committee and Rural Crime Watch.
Van Hierden said education is an effective way to combat drugs.
Van Hierden said several years ago, when methamphetamine first started showing up in Fort Macleod, information sessions were held about that drug.
“When meth first appeared in Fort Macleod, I feel we made an impact by hosting information sessions to educate the youth of meth’s effects,” Van Hierden said.
The sessions also informed people how to identify signs someone has an addiction.
Van Hierden said opioids are causing much more damage than meth, with high rates of death among users.
“The crime chain is even worse,” Van Hierden said of opioids.
The session will feature presentations from Sharie Falk of Alberta Health Services and Const. Ben Stubbe from the Fort Macleod RCMP.
Van Hierden has worked in the community first hand to help the fentanyl crisis.
“I met a family last week whom lost a grandson to carfentanyl,” Van Hierden said. “He had struggled with addiction but was on the way to recovery before he was sold a lethal dose.”
Fort Macleod town council has made it a priority to tackle the drug and opioid issue.
“If parents want to bring their families or friends out we can help find resources to deal with addiction or make you aware of its dangers,” Van Hierden said. “We need a safe community to have a vibrant economy and a place to raise families and seniors to retire in.”

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