Prince Albert group to forge anti-alcohol strategy

Community leaders in Prince Albert are seeking input on how to best battle the city's troubling alcohol abuse rates.

Four in ten arrests in city for public intoxication

Prince Albert has a significantly higher rate of arrests for public intoxication than other cities in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

Prince Albert residents fed up with alcohol abuse in their city have decided it's time to create an anti-alcohol strategy.

The Community Mobilization Program will be hosting a dozen focus group sessions in the coming weeks to get people in Prince Albert to take notice.

"We've had a lot of people calling and saying I want to be involved, I want my voice to be heard, I want to be part of the action," said Glenis Clarke, an addictions specialist involved with the proposed program.

"That's the type of thing that changes communities and improves communities. And we're very excited about that."

According to the 2011 census, Prince Albert arrests significantly more people for public intoxication than Regina or Saskatoon, despite having less than half those cities' population. Police in Prince Albert have said that as many as 40 percent of all arrests in Prince Albert are on public intoxication charges.

It's important that people in Prince Albert come forward with their ideas to make the strategy successful, said Lydia Franc-Beaurivage of the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.

"In order to make the significant changes we're looking at [toward] attitudes in our community, we need many people to be involved," she said.

About 20 people have been discussing the issue so far, Franc-Beaurivage said. It's expected they'll be presenting a report with some of their ideas in May.