Saturday, June 29, 2019

Despite 67% success rate with meth addicts, Manitoba government won't talk to Morberg House

The publication of the Illicit Drug Task Force report on a Friday before the first long weekend of the summer, was designed to stifle review and discussion of the document. 

That's what government-connected committees -  in this case to all 3 levels - will do when they know there's trouble brewing. That way, there is no ability for critical viewpoints and alternative approaches to gather momentum in response. 

I had barely glanced at the report, noting it was like finding a needle in the haystack to figure out which parts would address or rectify the serious deficiencies I identifed in the meth/used needle problems in and around Manitoba Housing properties. Instead, I set it aside for the weekend, and went to buy some groceries. 

And lo and behold, I walked into a little free lunchtime barbeque set up outside of the No Frill store in St. Boniface, and finally met Marion Willis.

Marion runs Morberg House, the flagship program of St. Boniface Street Links. I am not the biggest fan of the "harm reduction" philosophy and practices of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and other agencies. That policy direction was reinforced by the Task Force report. Having said that, I am a fan of results, especially if it is reducing meth use and addiction that has overrun our city. 

So imagine my surprise when in the course of interviewing Marion, I learned not only of the valuable partnership with No Frills helping feed men enrolled in their nationally recognized program, but of a success rate - SIXTY SEVEN PERCENT - in the last 3 years, which dwarfs the typical rate of other programs.
More surprising, was when I asked Marion about their funding, and she told me that not only does the province not contribute one thin dime to Morberg House, not a single cabinet minister in the Pallister government has responded to emails asking for a meeting to discuss their program - or discuss how it can be expanded to help more addicts in Manitoba get clean. 

Watch and share Part 1 of my interview, more to follow in the next few days. 

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