Killaloe – A member of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards (KHR) Township council made a passionate plea to her colleagues last Tuesday night to support her in her cause to bring attention to the growing surge in drug overdose instances in the community, resulting in two recent deaths.

Councillor Maureen MacMillan brought her concerns forward under New Business at the April 2 council meeting.  

“I’d like to acknowledge the fact that in our community we’ve had four ODs (overdoses)                                                                                  in the last week, week-and-a-half,” she said. “Two deaths have resulted from these overdoses, and two people were treated and are okay.

“This is a really small community and that’s a really big problem,” she added. “People aren’t really talking about it and I just don’t want this to get brushed under the rug. I don’t know what we can do, but this is happening in this community here and it’s an issue.”

Coun. MacMillan noted she has not seen any increased police presence in the town since the events happened.

“We haven’t even met the chief of police yet,” she stated. “There’s some big issues here that I think we have to start talking about.

“One death, to me from something like that, is one death too many,” she continued. “I don’t really know what the solution is. I don’t know if we need to start talking about this or figuring out what the council can do.”

Councillor Brian Pecoskie said overdoses are an issue everywhere, not only in their community.

“What would our responsibility as a municipality be? That is the question?” he said.

“I don’t know,” Coun. MacMillan replied. “It’s four ODs in a week.

“Is that a state of emergency for our town? Is that significant enough?” she asked. “We’re a small town. Killaloe is not a big area. That’s a lot of overdoses in the course of a very short span.”

Councillor Carl Kuehl was concerned the police were not addressing the issue at its roots.

“Why don’t the OPP crack down where they know this stuff is?” he asked. “Because I know where it is. Come on.”

Mayor Dave Mayville said the issue is discussed at every one of the Renfrew County District Health Unit meetings and at Renfrew County council.

“Evey community is talking about it, but right now it’s just talk,” he remarked. “But unfortunately, that’s the only thing that’s going on.

“Nobody has come forward with anything concrete, which is unfortunate,” he added. “Maureen, I wish I had an answer for you.”

Coun. MacMillan said council has often discussed having the local OPP detachment commander at a meeting and suggested that needed to be pursued.

“I think that conversation needs to be had. I think we need him to come and have a talk about what’s happening to keep our community safe. I don’t want there to be another death in Killaloe

“They’re our first line of defence,” she added.

Coun. MacMillan said she feels the community is not fully aware of the seriousness of the issue.

“Our town is suffering,” she stated. “I know this.

“As a community, we have to do something, and I’m putting out the call,” she added.

Mayor Mayville said it was good first step, noting the Killaloe detachment of the OPP was in the process of some changes regarding the commander. He directed CAO Tammy Gorgerat to prepare a request to have someone attend a future meeting to discuss the issue.

“And I’d like you to bring this up at the county level,” Coun. MacMillan requested.

“There were four in a couple of days, three in one day,” noted Councillor Bil Smith.

“We have to start taking action,” Coun. MacMillan added in. “I’m so sick of all the talk and no action because I don’t know how bad this problem has to get before we’re willing to act, and not let people suffer and die.”

Coun. Smith noted the drugs are being mixed so not even Narcan can save the user in some overdoses.

Mayor Mayville said the number of overdose calls are putting a real burden on the paramedic service because they are responding to so many calls while responses to other calls are being delayed.

Coun. MacMillan said she agreed with Coun. Kuehl’s comments about people knowing the source of the problem in the village, yet nothing is done about it.

“Everybody in this town talks about the people. I don’t know how anybody in this town can know people in regard to that problem and nothing has been done. It flabbergasts me.”

Mayor Mayville thanked Coun. MacMillan for bringing the issue forward and the other councillors for their input, saying he would bring it up at his next county meeting.