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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

OPP holds Drug Awareness Clinic

by Adam Gault

The Ontario Provincial Police, in partnership with the Town of Lakeshore, hosted a Drug Awareness Clinic on Tuesday, May 1, to bring attention to the impact the abuse of drugs and alcohol can have on the lives of people from all walks of life across the community, and the resources available to those looking to turn their lives around.

Hosted at the Atlas Tube Centre, the event featured presentations from members of area law enforcement and drug prevention, as well as guest speakers who have been personally impacted in their lives by abusing drugs and alcohol.

“We discussed what would be best to bring to Lakeshore, and there seems to be a lot of questions about what resources are available to families and teens in the Lakeshore area specific to drug issues, alcohol issues, and mental health issues as well,” OPP Community Services Officer, Jacquie Winand-Bacon, said of the decision to host the event. “The statistics from the hospital show that there is an increase in marijuana I believe, and in conjunction with alcohol use.”

Winand-Bacon feels this increase could potentially be attributed to changing attitudes surrounding drug use, especially in the wake of the upcoming federal legalization of cannabis.

“I think the way people think about drugs has changed with the [upcoming] legalization of marijuana,” Winand-Bacon explained. “Because it’s becoming legalized, I’ve heard from several students, and several people in the community, that it can’t be all that bad because alcohol is legal.”

One of the guest speakers invited to the event was James Lucier, a young man whose struggles with substance abuse began while recovering from a hockey injury as a high school student.

“I hurt myself playing hockey, and what defined me, was instantly taken from me,” Lucier said of his injury. “In a moment of complete despair, I grabbed onto a group of friends that are in Grade 11 and 12, and they’re into cocaine, they’re into alcohol, smoking dope. They did all these things that I thought were cool at that time.”

Lucier said, while others were able to pick it up and put it down, he quickly passed the point where he was consumed by addiction to narcotics. Where once he was a courteous and empathetic person, that fell by the wayside as he became fixated on acquiring his next high.

After several programs in various rehab and recovery facilities and an incredible drive to take back his life, Lucier is now sober. He travels across Essex County as part of his ‘Spiritual Soldiers’ movement to raise awareness for addiction.

“Recovery is possible. For me, I spent so long in the pain, suffering, and torture of addiction, that I thought I’d never get out of it,” Lucier explained. “I thought I was the only one with the problems I had, so to be able to come here and if it can help one person, then I’ve done my job.”

In its continued fight against the stigma of drug use, the ‘Spiritual Warriors’ are in the process of opening their own coffee shop and soft drink bar in Windsor at the beginning of June. They hope that with this venture, recovering addicts will have an encouraging and inviting place where they can share and support one another in their recovery.

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