Meth seizures rise 300% in Calgary as police chief calls for more addiction support

Methamphetamine was relatively unknown on Calgary streets just five years ago, but police now say officers encounter the street drug virtually every day.

Roger Chaffin says 90-day wait to get into treatment makes challenge even more difficult for addicts

Calgary Police Service Chief Roger Chaffin says governments need to offer more support as officers deal with a growing level of addiction issues. (CBC)

Methamphetamine was relatively unknown on Calgary streets just five years ago, but police now say officers encounter the street drug virtually every day.

Meth seizures were up nearly 300 per cent in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2015, the Calgary Police Commission heard Tuesday.

Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta said most seizures are for small quantities, and meth is closely linked to the growing abuse of another drug – fentanyl.

"We know that the availability of meth has increased as well as the price points have dropped significantly, to almost half what they were five to 10 years ago," he said.

Police Chief Roger Chaffin said dealing with the growing demand for meth is a major problem and, for those wanting help to beat their addiction, it currently takes three months to get into treatment.

"When you get control of an addict and they're asking for help and they need help, the ability to get them that help immediately or as quickly as possible is important," Chaffin said.

"Telling them, an addict, 'come back in 90 days when we have an opening,' then likely you're not going to see that person again."

Chaffin said the abuse of drugs like meth and fentanyl is escalating quickly in Alberta, a problem he feels requires greater government support to combat.

with files from Scott Dippel