Posie Row Latest Victim of Drug-related Break-ins Happening Daily in St. John’s

"There is no war drugs, there is only a war on people, and the most vulnerable segments of our population are the ones we seem to be at war with."

Anita Carroll had a rude awakening last Thursday morning. Just before 8 am, a call came from the RNC alerting her to a break in which had happened around 3am at her Duckworth street store Posie Row. 

A man was later arrested attempting to sell the 6 trays of silver jewelry he had grabbed after 45 minutes of rummaging had failed to find any cash on site. He smashed in the glass door, and came in and out of the storefront 3 times before finally leaving with his haul.

When she spoke with police, she was told that home break-ins were being reported at the rate of 5 or 6 a day currently in St. John’s, and business break-ins are at an all time high.

With very few exceptions, they added, the burglars were addicts looking for drug money. While the knee jerk “friggin’ skeets” reaction is understandable when a community member is robbed, it neither undoes the damage of the violation, or helps rehabilitate the perpetrator. Most likely it puts them, instead, in an overcrowded prison system where the damage to their psyche only deepens.

If health statistics of blood borne illness are any indicator, needle drugs gained traction in St. John’s sometime in the late 90s, with  17 new reported cases of Hep C in the province in 1996, ballooning to 84 by 2005. There are many theories on how and why addiction rates in NL have soared, and no matter which one you subscribe to, the damage is increasingly evident.

Cocaine and opiates are the main drugs in question, both illegal and in some areas difficult to access treatment for, if addicted.

Underlying any conversation about addiction is also a conversation about mental health, as people with mental health challenges are disproportionately represented in the population suffering from addictions.

Canadian physician and author Gabor Mate has said of this, “there is no war drugs, there is only a war on people, and the most vulnerable segments of our population are the ones we seem to be at war with”

Mate’s book, In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts, recalls his time working in east Vancouver’s addict community , and he calls for a total reform on how we deal with addicts and addiction, asking first not “why the addiction,” but “why the pain,” and states that stigma and shame cannot co-exist with compassion. And compassion is the attitude we actually need for any real change.

As for Anita, she’s shaken but not stirred, saying she still feels safe in the neighbourhood and feels that with the current situation in the city, sadly, things like this are just par for the course. Lock up your valuables, call the police if you see a crime, and don’t leave cash in your store is her advice to people.

It’s great she’s so stoic about the whole event, but I can’t help but feel our city is passing on its inability to deal with mental health and addictions issues in a modern, caring, and effective way, and it’s great neighbours like Anita who are the ones paying the price.

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  • Bart: sloppy comment, man. You’re a raging idiot if you don’t think there’s a drug problem in St. John’s we’re not addressing. Not all crime is drug-related, but everyone knows our SPIKE in crime is related to drugs and people looking to score more. And certainly the majority of crime in any city relates to drug issues, poverty issues, and poor rehabilitation of ex-inmates who repeat offences to get by. Your denial of facts and numbers and general plain-to-observedness is part of the problem. My partner is an officer, I would know, not you: drug-related crimes are super high, higher than my partner has ever seen. Lastly: why assume the officer’s quote was altered? Paranoid much?

    • My comment was not that there isn’t a drug problem in this city, so settle yourself.. All I questioned was how this “reporter” knew for a fact that this incident was drug related.. Did she speak to and/or explicitly quote the police? It doesn’t appear to be the case as the police are not quoted (the police spoke with the owner of the business, not the media).. Is the “reporter” speculating that this incident was drug related? It appears so.. Facts are one thing, but printing/reporting on matters of public interest based on pure speculation is indeed a slippery slope.. There’s not a single quote in this article (the entirety of it being paraphased) thus making your assertion that I’m paranoid about what the police did/did not say largely irrelevant as they did not say anything (they are not quoted).. I find it incredibly presumptive of you to think I know nothing on these matters (you know nothing about me) and quite hilarious that you assume to know everything based on who your partner is..

    • You’re a raging idiot if you think you’re informed on a particular topic because of the profession of your partner. “My partner is a rocket scientist, so you needn’t talk to me about rockets” – not how it really works pal. You don’t need to be dating a cop to have a clue about crime in the city. Bart may have been a little silly with the “clickbait” comment, but you came in a pretty much did exactly what his original comment was pointing out – thinking you know what’s up because of what you heard through the grapevine.

  • Click bait headline with zero factual evidence that this matter involved someone who was/is drug-addicted.. Very sloppy “journalism”, if we can even call it that.. The police talked to the business owner (1st hand) who talked to the writer (2nd hand) who then went on about whatever it was the writer had convinced herself of from the outset.. Scary stuff, and I’m not talking about the break-in..

    • “Clickbait” hahaha! Lemme guess, Bart: You live in a mansion far away from the core of the city where the rest of us see cop car lights a few nights a week because someone’s after robbing the local corner store AGAIN, f@cked out of their minds as the police deal with them. I’m in Georgestown: a friend’s son broke into HIS MOTHER’S HO– USE to steal things to sell for drugs. Wake up.

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