Lake Babine Nation (LBN) Chief Wilf Adam said he will be the first in line to be tested for drugs during LBN’s upcoming annual general assembly.
The nation’s council has requested that the chief, councillors and all staff members be tested for drugs. Testing is not mandatory; however, Chief Adam hopes all staff members will volunteer.
“I think it’s important that people who work for LBN do it in a clear mind, free of drugs and alcohol, and that they work on behalf of the people,” he said. “It’s a big step that council has made, and it’s a good step towards a healthy community, which includes the leadership of the nation.”
One of the main concerns of LBN council is fentanyl, which was responsible for approximately 60 per cent of overdose deaths in B.C. in the first half of 2016.
“Fentanyl is a problem of the city, but I know it’s coming [to rural areas],” said Chief Adam.
Micheal Vonn, B.C. Civil Liberties Association’s policy director, told CBC last week that even though LBN’s drug testing is voluntary, it is “highly invasive.”
“I have never heard of any such thing before,” he told CBC. “You are collecting biological and biographical information that is very personal; it’s a highly invasive form of policing a person.”
Chief Adam said he hasn’t heard any complaints from LBN members, and that so far the response has been “tremendous.” In fact, he says the idea of the drug test originated from LBN members approximately six years ago during an annual general assembly.
Drug testing at LBN will start at this year’s annual general assembly, which was originally scheduled to take place in mid-October but has been postponed to early November.