We are very fortunate to have the famous Coventry Hills Community Watchdogs active in Ward 3 (I’m a member of the group for my specific area), but I would like to see every single area of Ward 3 (and beyond, to all of Calgary) covered by engaged, caring neighbours, and supported by both the Calgary Police Service (District 7) and local community associations like the Northern Hills Community Association and the Hidden Valley Hanson Ranch Community Association.
We are having a problem with drivers in the area endangering lives of pedestrians. There are many reasons (speeding in school zones, passing at crosswalks, etc.) but the net result is that the streets in our communities are becoming less safe. We need to approach this serious and potentially fatal problem in multiple ways:
- More and better crosswalks and crosswalk signage. The process by which requested crosswalks are evaluated needs to be reviewed.
- Designing new schools and similar “drop off” areas for pedestrian safety (the design of at least one school in our area is particularly dangerous for drop off/pick up)
- Strict enforcement of pedestrian safety laws
- Making sure that when the Greenline LRT is built, that people going to and from the train station can do so safely and without interfering with traffic flow.
Calgary has the dubious honor of leading Alberta in fentanyl related deaths. Fentanyl and it’s analogues are 50-10,000 times more powerful than morphine. Because it’s so powerful, even a slight mistake in mixing it (common in street drugs) can result in an overdose and death. The effects of this horrifying drug on Calgary are growing at an exponential rate and we need to act quickly.
- We need to get Naloxone kits to all emergency personnel, as well as other responders and security in public areas like Calgary Transit, schools, shopping centers and so on. The injection kits are cheap ($10) and fairly easy to use. There is also a nasal version that’s more expensive ($100) but even easier and safer to use. I recommend supplying the nasal kits to first responders that are most likely to need them, and regular kits for everyone else. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse a Fentanyl overdose if it is given right away. To find more information and a map of local facilities with Naloxone kits, visit stopODs.ca.
- Saving the life of someone overdosing is only a small part of the answer – we need go get this poison off the street ASAP. City Council can’t directly give the police instructions, but Council can make Fentanyl related funding available.
- Finally, many Fentanyl addicts arrived there because of opioid medication (ie Tylenol 3, etc.) legally prescribed to them for pain due to injuries and other medical conditions. Once hooked, it’s not hard to find oneself willing to try a cheap, powerful fix like Fentanyl in order to deal with the addiction. We need to find these people and firmly support their journey back to health. It seems particularly clear that if someone needs to save your life with Naloxone, you need help and that help should be available.
- I strongly recommend you watch this VICE episode about the effects of fentanyl, especially since much of the video takes place right here in Calgary!