Houston RCMP detachment commander sergeant Jason Burndred confirmed the RCMP have recovered needles from a few locations in town, including the amphitheatre at Jamie Baxter Park and behind the hockey arena. (Submitted photo)

Houston RCMP detachment commander sergeant Jason Burndred confirmed the RCMP have recovered needles from a few locations in town, including the amphitheatre at Jamie Baxter Park and behind the hockey arena. (Submitted photo)

Drug-related issues in Houston cause concern

About 30 concerned residents asked council for solutions

Approximately 30 local residents have recently attended a council meeting to ask what council can do about drug-related issues in Houston.

According to Denise Hotte, one of the local residents who attended the meeting, Houston is facing an “epidemic of drugs,” which she says has led to an increase in local job vacancies, as well as needles being found in public areas.

“These issues are affecting every aspect of this community and the residents who have chosen this community to live in,” she said.

OPINION: Epidemic of drugs, housing and job vacancies in Houston

Hotte says the company she co-owns, DH Manufacturing Inc., does not have enough employees to fill vacant positions.

“We have employees spending their cheques on drugs, not showing up to work and then having no money to pay rent or live on for the next weeks until they get paid again,” she told Houston Today. “We have some major issues in town, in my opinion because of the direct relationship with drugs.”

The concerned group of residents has also requested that municipal crews do more frequent sweeps of public areas to clean up needles. Local resident Paula Kettle noted that she no longer feels comfortable taking her children to parks because of the risk of finding needles.

Houston RCMP detachment commander sergeant Jason Burndred confirmed the RCMP have recovered needles from a few locations in town, including the amphitheatre at Jamie Baxter Park and behind the hockey arena.

According to sgt. Burndred, over the last two years the RCMP have made drug enforcement one of their top priorities.

“As a result we have seen an increase in drug-related investigations,” he said.

On June 8, 2018 the Houston RCMP executed a search warrant where they arrested five persons.

“We seized a quantity of cocaine and methamphetamine,” described Sgt. Burndred. “Charges are being recommended against a male and female for possession for the purpose of trafficking.”

The RCMP have also recently implemented a Block Watch Program in Houston, which sgt. Burndred describes as “an extra set of eyes and ears in the community.”

“Volunteer members go out into their neighbourhoods and speak with members about many issues including crime prevention,” he explained.

Sgt. Burndred added that it’s important to educate children about the dangers of drugs and to remind them not to touch needles.

“The Houston RCMP remains committed to working in partnership with the community to ensure Houston remains a safe place to live and raise a family,” he said. “We encourage anyone with concerns or questions to contact the detachment directly.”

Although Houston Mayor Shane Brienen closed the council meeting’s public input opportunity after 15 minutes – noting that only 15 minutes had been set aside for it – he encouraged the concerned attendees to meet with him outside of the council meeting to discuss the issue further.

Mayor Brienen did not respond to Houston Today’s requests for comment by press time.

The B.C. government says there was no program where hundreds of people on income or disability assistance were relocated to Houston in the past few years, unlike what some residents have suggested.

In terms of moving, the provincial government may provide relocation support to someone on assistance who has a confirmed job in a different community; that person, however, would no longer be receiving assistance in their new community as they would be working, explained the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

“It’s also important to note that not every person with an addiction is on assistance,” added the ministry.

The provincial government noted that B.C. is in the midst of an overdose crisis and that the impact can be seen in both large cities and small towns.

A total of 391 people in B.C. died from illicit drug overdoses in the first three months of 2018, with 161 people dying of an overdose in March alone.

READ MORE: 161 people died of illicit drug overdose in B.C. in March

The B.C. government says the newly created Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has been taking action to tackle drug addiction across the province.

Northern Health said Houston currently offers community programs that provide assessment, treatment and referrals for adults with mental health and/or addiction problems. For more information about these programs, call 250-845-5964 or visit https://www.northernhealth.ca/YourHealth/MentalHealthAddictions/CommunityProgramsContacts/Houston.aspx.

– With files from Ashley Wadhwani


 

@flavio_nienow
flavionienow@gmail.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

(Black Press file photo)
Charges laid against two suspects in pre-Christmas home invasion

An 88-year-old woman was hospitalized after being bear-sprayed in the face Dec. 18, 2020

Liam and Tyler Spaans, (L-R), are two of the current lifeguards at the Houston Leisure Facility. (Houston Leisure Services file photo)
Leisure facility anticipates need for lifeguards

Has been challenged in the past

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read