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Something's gotta be done

Cheryl Robinson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 07/03) - Yellowknifers and RCMP gathered at Northern United Place last night to try to find a solution to the city's alcohol abuse problem.

"It's apparent that our justice system thinks putting people in jail will solve the problem. But it's a sickness, it's a disease," said Bill Lemouel, before the meeting.

"Punishment solves nothing," he added.

The waiting period for alcohol abuse treatment is too long and the city needs better alcohol treatment facilities, Lemouel said.

Gold Range waitress Gina Sarasin showed up for the meeting, but said she thinks that drugs are a bigger issue in Yellowknife.

"I really don't think that the alcohol problem is as big as the crack (cocaine) problem in Yellowknife," she said. "You can control alcohol, but you can't control the drugs."

Staff from the Centre Square Mall previously held a meeting with the RCMP to discuss the situation. Many mall representatives showed up last night to show support for the RCMP and share opinions.

"We need to work together to fix this and we can't do this in a stand alone environment," said Jennifer Marchant Centre Square Mall general manager.

Const. Dino Norris opened the meeting saying the RCMP were not planning on abolishing alcohol in the North, but that a solution for the problem had to be found.

"We as an organization recognize we do not have all the solutions to all the problems," said Norris.

See Friday's Yellowknifer for full coverage of the meeting's concerns and suggestions.