‘Alarming’ increase in illegal narcotics and prescription drugs in the north: NAPS
According to the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS), there has been an “alarming” increase in the use and distribution of illegal narcotics and prescription drugs throughout Northern Ontario, including in First Nations.
Under Ontario’s CCTV grant program, NAPS is receiving $6,047 for Project Vision for CCTV systems. The goal of the program is to help deter criminal activity and improve public safety.
For Project Vision, NAPS monitors suspected southern Ontario street gang members engaging in “illicit activities, including human trafficking, drug trafficking and smuggling” in First Nations communities from the north, according to the provincial announcement.
NAPS Det. Insp. Brad Duce said police have been aware of increased gang activity in First Nations communities for some time now. No actual date for the start of gang activity has been determined.
“People in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have befriended sensitive people in small urban towns and First Nations communities to facilitate their drug dealing,” Duce said in an email.
“Additionally, there are large numbers of local drug dealers who travel from northern communities to major urban cities, including the GTA, to purchase illicit narcotics where they bring them back to communities for resale.”
He said there was an influx of people from the GTA who set up a drug trafficking ring in northern Ontario. Law enforcement and intelligence suggest the main drugs are fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine, he said.
“Families and young children are forced to live their lives with drugs that impact their learning, social interactions and overall health,” Duce said.
To help combat the ongoing “drug epidemic”, NAPS has engaged in “proactive enforcement” through targeted investigations in consultation with law enforcement partners and using grant funding opportunities, Duce said.
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