Once a year we undertake training for several hours.
We meet with people and members of the community at large through Canadian Mental Health, through addiction services. We go over trends and research data locally about what we're finding in addiction concerns, treatment concerns and admission concerns.
We collaborate on a regular basis on issues of drug concerns: whether we have a specific type of drug problem, some of the side effects caused by the drug, some of the repeat clients we're dealing with and the resources required to deal with them as well as the concerns we have about dealing with them if they're in crisis at the time, whether it's a medical or a physical crisis, a mental health issue, and how we're going to combat that and get them the treatment they need.
We've obviously discovered they don't need to necessarily be in custody if a potential criminal allegation is made, or a criminal scenario. We try to diagnose and facilitate the corrective action to take, whether it's to simply call in a crisis worker from Canadian Mental Health, whether we realize from arriving on scene that the individual is in medical distress, along with their addiction issue. But do they need to go to the hospital? Do we need to get them sent to a medical facility for treatment? Sometimes it's a secondary issue.
I think the big thing is that we need to get on track with educating everybody consistently, and it has to be done at least on an annual basis. We're all on the same page. We extract the resources of all the services available, and we come to a common ground on what we're doing to facilitate the needs of the community.
When we come into contact with these people, they're normally at that stage of their addiction, psychosis or medical issue where they've come to the attention of the public at large, where they're acting out and we have to intervene. It's not necessarily as it was in the past, where it was a law enforcement issue and they just needed to be arrested, handcuffed and taken to the police station.