Moving the problem along

Residents of a certain southwest Slave Lake neighbourhood are probably very relieved to finally have a notorious ‘drug house’ shut down. So is the Town of Slave Lake. No doubt the local RCMP are as well.

It’s only for 90 days, but it could be forever. It all depends on who rents the place, after the court-ordered period ends.
But what about the former tenants? They’ve been evicted. It doesn’t mean they will suddenly come to their senses and change their lifestyle. Addicts (assuming they are) are not known for changing habits along with addresses. And they have to live somewhere.

So why don’t the RCMP arrest them, lock them up and throw away the key? (Some people will ask.)

The story there is a familiar one. Drug users aren’t going to face much punishment, if they are even charged. Drug traffickers might spend a bit of time behind bars, if convicted. But getting to that point isn’t easy; nor is a prison term a certainty. There is a focus on rehabilitation and second chances. Some people aren’t worthy of those second chances, but some are and the system has to be designed to give the benefit of the doubt.

The RCMP can and does make life difficult for repeat offenders. They may or may not be drug users, but it’s pretty well understood a lot of the property crime (I.e. theft) goes hand in hand with drug dependency.

So…. Who benefits from the ‘shuttering’ of a drug house? The neighbourhood. Probably not the town in general. Probably not the people who were evicted. Probably not law enforcement, who will probably have roughly the same number of complaints, wherever they happen to come from.

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