How can Haines better address drug use and resulting overdoses? That’s a question the public safety commission wants the community to take a closer look at.
“Our rural area and our remoteness isn’t going to fend this off for much longer,” said police chief Heath Scott. “I think we’re in the throes of it.”
He described with urgency an increase in overdoses, some of which he says are related to heroin.
“How many times have we given narcan? How many times have we dealt with overdose in the last year? I start looking at the numbers and we dealt with arguable four overdoses,” said Scott. “Different individuals, different demographics, within the last month. Four.”
Scott said one obvious question is whether the overdoses are a result of a March break-in at the local clinic. A number of different drugs were stolen. But Scott said he doesn’t think the two are related.
He and members of the committee agreed that it’s time to have a bigger discussion about how drugs are affecting the community and what can be done about it. Commission member Michael Fullerton said living in a small town should be considered an asset in this situation.
“I’ve heard on more than one occasion tonight saying ‘oh we’re a small community, that’s really a problem. And I would argue just the contrary; it’s one of our greatest strengths. We are a small community. We know each other, we care about each other. We should leverage that strength,” said Fullerton.
The group is organizing a community discussion on drug use in Haines and how to effectively impact the situation. The meeting is scheduled for June 1 at 5:30 p.m. in assembly chambers.