Is Busting a "Drug Ring" the Best Way to Keep Calgary Safe?

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A recent headline proclaimed a big step forward in the Calgary Police's battle against recreational fentanyl in the Greater Calgary Area. According to CTV News, police have identified a "drug ring" in Calgary that received illegally manufactured fentanyl from a producer in British Columbia, and they expect this to help them reduce the amount of fentanyl available in our city.

“Identifying the source of fentanyl pill production in Western Canada is extremely important in the ongoing efforts in relation to the health crisis we are facing in Calgary,” say Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta of the Calgary Police Service.

It's interesting that Staff Sergeant Schiavetta notes that we are dealing with a "health crisis," and that—as reported by CTV—law enforcement has been investigating the source of Calgary's fentanyl for over a year. If our community leaders took more than a year to even begin a meaningful response to a different health crisis, most of Calgary would be enraged, and rightfully so. Yet when it comes to drugs, we still see the criminal justice system as our first and often only line of defence.

Not surprisingly, criminalizing health problems hasn't worked out too well.

Much of the danger from fentanyl use comes from impurities and varying potencies in the unregulated manufacture of illicit pills. Make it legal and regulated, and people will know what they're taking.

Health crisis solved.

We should be offering addicts and drug abusers the medical help they need, not locking them up. No number of arrests will end drug use, so let's start dealing with the reality of our health crisis.

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