LOCAL ISSUE, LOCAL OPINIONS, LOCAL SOLUTIONS
March 26, 2010 - The Thunder Bay Drug Strategy Steering Committee conducted over 26 focus group sessions with a broad range of citizens in Thunder Bay to understand the impact of substance misuse. The findings have been documented and will inform the Committee as they begin to examine solutions to reduce the harms caused by substance misuse.
The focus group participants shared their perspectives on key substance misuse related issues in Thunder Bay; factors that contribute to substance misuse; services that have been effective; and areas that need attention.
Several themes emerged, with particular focus on alcohol, marijuana use and prescription opiate misuse. Key findings include:
Marijuana use is seen as fairly common across age groups, with youth indicating that it was easier to access than alcohol;
Public intoxication is seen as a specific issue, with concerns that there are not enough resources to protect the community at large and the intoxicated individuals themselves;
Prescription opiate misuse is seen as a growing problem, with the perception that these narcotics are over- prescribed and mismanaged by healthcare providers and patients alike.
Participants reflected that substance misuse is a problem that is affected by deeper social issues, such as the lack of affordable housing, high rates of unemployment, and worsening economic conditions in Thunder Bay. They also shared the perspective that youth are at increased risk of substance misuse because of a lack of affordable activities in the city.
“We thank every person that generously gave their time to talk to us about drugs and alcohol in our community,” states Drug Strategy Steering Committee Chairperson, Rebecca Johnson. “It is through the sharing of their honest, open opinions and thoughts that we have a better understanding of this complicated issue. This report will be quite valuable to us as we move forward to the next stage of the project.”
The consultation report will be used in upcoming strategy sessions being held in April. These events will include people affected by or working in substance misuse prevention, treatment, secondary prevention, and enforcement. They will inform the development of recommendations to be included in the final community drug strategy. A draft strategy is scheduled to be released by November of this year. The general public will have an opportunity to provide feedback at that time.
The full consultation report is available online at thunderbaydrugstrategy.ca
“If you keep focusing on the big things, it’s a big mountain in our lives… if you take little steps, that’s how you get to the top of the mountain.”