Four Counties Addiction Services' admissions
rise dramatically

Police stats also show drug
charges on the rise

Out-patient addiction services needs are soaring in Peterborough.

In the meantime, drug-related charges are escalating, according to statistics from Peterborough City Police.

Peterborough's Four Counties Addiction Services Team (FourCAST) shows huge caseload increases across the board, stretched over all four counties under its umbrella.

The rising statistics on drug charges as compiled by Peterborough City Police are also cause for concern.

In 1998 there were 80 drug charges laid, with 131 charges laid in 1991, 137 in 2000, 139 in 2001 and 79 between January and July of 2002.

As for FourCAST, they had 509 admissions in 1999, 580 in 2000, 615 in 2001 and a staggering 841 in 2002.

"This is a huge increase" across Peterborough County, the City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County and Northumberland County, according to Donna Rogers, executive director of FourCAST.

"There is clearly an increase in the number of people presenting for services," she says.

The FourCAST annual report states that the group has "recorded its most significant increase in service demand in the organization's history during the past year, with a 69 per cent increase in intakes and a 51 per cent increase in admissions. (Intakes represent contacts made by clients for the purpose of scheduling an initial session. Admission data represents all those who actually attend for a first appointment.)

Throughout the four counties there were also a 78 per cent increase noted in youth admissions with the most significant increase of 69 per cent occurring in Peterborough County.

When asked if FourCAST is a prevention-oriented organization for drugs and, concomitantly, violent crime, Rogers says the truth is somewhere in between.

"It's tough to say. Clearly, much of the violence is linked to alcohol and drug use. Whether or not, when someone stops, does this reduce the violence - well, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't," she says.

"There is a big void in the province in terms of prevention work. We all take a shot at it (prevention) but we do primary treatment, mainly," notes Rogers.

"If, as an example, a parent has a substance-abuse problem and they succeed in our program, then that should have a positive effect within that family," Rogers says.

Rogers also points out that FourCAST doesn't work only for abstinence, in some cases, but also harm reduction.

She says it is also important not to immediately draw the conclusion that drug usage (as opposed to treatment for drugs) is up as dramatically, though, because her organization's caseloads may be the result of a number of different factors.

She said people who have been doing drugs for some time may only be recently stepping forward, for instance, with the increased number of public awareness campaigns in the Province and community.

"That can help push these numbers up," she says.

A further breakdown and consideration of these numbers, according to Rogers, are the social policy changes that have occurred over the years, particularly in moving from care that is institutionally-based to care that is more community services-oriented. So a person who used to access care through the hospital, for instance, is now more frequently accessing care through services such as FourCAST.

In addition to out-patient addictions services treatment for alcohol, drugs and problem-gambling, the group also works with family members.

FourCAST is also increasingly working with people who have a concurrent disorder. This term refers to those people who have a mental illness in addition to a substance misuse or addiction problems.

From a police-services perspective, the urge for substance abusers to get drug money is strong enough to fuel violent crime, even in communities such as Peterborough. In fact, says Chief McLaren, committing robberies and break and enters to obtain drugs, in his estimation, would represent about 80 per cent of the total number of break and enters robberies.

In the last five years, only two heroin charges have been laid but cocaine usage is more prevalent. For cocaine usage, there were five charges laid in 1998, six in 1999, 16 in 2000, 16 in 2001 and nine already in 2002, up until July. Cannabis charges number over a hundred in the last few years.

"During these incidents" of break and enters and robberies, said the 31-year police veteran, "these numbers can lead to incidences of violence."








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