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Love against drugs

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services

Hay River (Dec 05/05) - In the fight against drugs a loving family goes a long way.

Caring for the community's young people was a common theme between presentations by Dr. David Cook and the Odd Squad during Restorative Justice Week organized by the Hay River Community Justice committee.

"A loving relationship with kids and their families is the number one thing we can put energy into," said Sgt. Toby Hinton, a member of the Odd Squad.

The Odd Squad is a group of Vancouver City police who work in the drug infested downtown east side of the city. Hinton and Const. Mark Steinkompf shared their experiences working on the streets through a number of presentations to students, professionals and community members.

"If we want to make a significant difference in drug abuse it has to come from young people making good decisions," Hinton told Diamond Jenness secondary school students.

The students were gripped by the multi-media presentation with footage and personal testimonies from drug addicts. Some people gasped at the pictures of self-inflicted wounds on addicts.

"I don't want to see anymore," one student said loudly.

No one sets out to be a drug addict and the presentation helps show students what can happen, said Hinton. Messages in the Odd Squad presentations were echoed by Dr. David Cook.

"Kids really need to know that they're loved," said Cook to 17 people at a separate gathering in Doug Weiderman Hall.

Cook, a pharmacologist with the University of Alberta, explained how people become hooked on drugs and what steps need to be taken to fight addiction. "Hugs not drugs," works said Cook.