Squamish could be looking at a $10,000 grant to help fight crystal meth use in the corridor.
The provincial government has announced $2 million to support community-based anti-meth programs in an effort to fight crystal meth.
The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) will administer the funding through $10,000 seed grants for communities to start meth watch organizations, create resource inventories, and provide meth awareness training for parents, teachers and youths.
Cliff Doherty, Squamish's director of protective services, said Squamish will be making an application for the grant.
Jessie Burnett, a drug and alcohol prevention worker with Sea to Sky Community Services, said the initiative is a positive one for the government because it stresses preventative methods rather than waiting for the problem to become more developed.
"When a new drug comes out and kids don't know what it is or the consequences, it is easier for them to become more involved," she said. "When they are aware of the warning signs they can look for the symptoms of users in other children and adults."
In terms of the criteria for receiving the grants, Richard Taylor, executive director of the UBCM, said if proposals show local council support, have a budget, and show the activities the money will fund, they would be processed within a couple of days.
"We don't want to hold anyone up," he said.
Leanna Buffie of Sea to Sky Community Services said the upcoming education programs for meth awareness the grant would support, would focus on the local youth and would attempt to engage them in a friendly way.
"We have spoken to the youth and they have said they want more youth stories involving the drugs, so we are going to try and provide that," she said. Drug and alcohol counsellor Denise Evans said in terms of programming the funding would be "a drop [in the ocean]" but in terms of education the $10,000 would be significant. She would like to see the issue expanded to cocaine use because of the high criminality associated with the two drugs.
Evans said the use of crystal meth in Squamish has not been rising but has been steady. She thinks the success of educational programs in the past is shown by the lack of an increase of meth users in Squamish.