Reform needed to protect community safety amid radical drug policies

Denise Boudreau, founder of Breakpoint Communities for Public Safety, questions the oversight of harm reduction policies, advocating for reforms that prioritize public safety and effective health care solutions while addressing the unintended consequences of current strategies.

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“Can we evaluate when we’ve gone too far and when we’re actually causing harm?” asks the founder of Breakpoint Communities for Public Safety, criticizing the lack of oversight and accountability with harm reduction policies.

Denise Boudreau founded the national non-profit earlier this year to counteract the perpetual enablement of addiction and homelessness by failed activities funded primarily through government drug strategies. She launched the Breakpoint initiative as a way to collectively push back against extreme drug advocates and create public awareness of the safety concerns plaguing communities.

Speaking in front of the micro-home initiative in Oshawa, Ont., Boudreau, who used to own a home in the area, realized that communities across Canada were at risk after the January 2023 murder of Ken Chopee, a local homeless man and one of the complex’s first residents.

“My neighbours were mostly drug addicts who were not receiving treatment, were not in recovery, were not motivated to do any of that and there was a lot of disorder and emergency response on a frequent basis. There was an increase in crime in the area and the residents took this to local council,” Boudreau explains — all to no avail.

It wasn't until Chopee's murder went unnoticed for two days that the management of the micro-home initiative changed, with a revised intake process.

“We feel a lot of devil is in the details when it comes to the promotion and advertising of these social services,” Boudreau says, highlighting the lack of oversight and regulation. She explains that public disorder and overdoses are symptoms of deeper issues often obscured by biased media and extreme activism.

Boudreau condemns the Planning Act for neglecting public safety and calls for policy reform to ensure the placement of these services considers the needs of children, seniors, and other vulnerable populations and gives them an equal voice and a seat at the table.

"To house people and say we succeeded because we provided a roof is not where the solution will stop," says Boudreau. "There will always be trade-offs, but we have to work together at all tiers of government. At the end of the day, health care is what's missing in this equation, and all of this public disorder is a symptom of that bigger problem. We need leadership and viable solutions that don’t come at the cost of recovery and public safety. All of the funding goes into harm reduction and promotion of drug use. I understand 'stop the stigma,' but that can go too far. Can we evaluate when we’ve gone too far and when we’re actually causing harm?”

These services — outreach, advocacy, shelter and harm reduction — are funded by taxpayers, and Boudreau says each response costs an average of $4,000, placing a significant burden on taxpayers.

“How many people that own homes are going to be put in a position where they are not going to be able to afford their property taxes because of having and being made to support all of these other programs that aren’t even working all that well?” Boudreau wonders.

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