“We’ve put up with it…and it has to stop”


Oil Springs leaders

want OPP to deal

with drug problem

The assault of an elderly woman in her Oil Springs home has sparked renewed concerns about drugs in that small town.

On Sept. 1, police say the home of an 88-year old woman was broken into early in the morning. Forensic identification officers were on the scene most of the morning but police released few details of what happened inside the home.

Tuesday, the OPP issued an arrest warrant for Craig Powers of Enniskillen. By Wednesday, the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and the Repeat Offenders Parole Enforcement unit arrested the man in Watford without incident.

Powers faces charges of break, enter and commit an indictable offence of sexual assault, careless use of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm, and possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000.

Oil Springs Mayor Ian Veen fears the incident was sparked by drugs saying the OPP’s search dogs went right to a home known by local residents for its late night parties and drug use.

“This has been going on at least five years now,” he told The Independent. “We’ve put up with it and put up with it and it has to stop.”

Veen says about one percent of the village’s population has a drug problem and much of the drugs can be found in one apartment building. “They party 24 hours a day,” he says. “Neighbours are threatening to move out because they can’t take the partying.”

The mayor says methamphetamines – which is highly addictive – are the drug of choice in the area.

Veen believes much of the property crimes, such as Sept. 1st break in on Oil Springs Line, stems from people looking for drug money.

OPP have said they believe up to 90 percent of property crimes are committed due to drugs because people cannot sustain their habits without stealing.

The mayor says the OPP do make regular rounds in the village but “every time the OPP come out, these guys scatter as soon as the cops are done, they’re back.”

Veen and council were to meet with the OPP at Tuesday’s council meeting to talk about the issue.

“Somehow we have to address the drug use in Oil Springs,” says Veen. “I don’t know how we go about this and I know it is not just Oil Springs problem; it’s everywhere. I really don’t know what the answer is.”

Veen says some members of council have said there is nothing the village can do, but he wants to try expressing a personal belief that the drug users should be moved out of town.

“We don’t need to be living anywhere near this,” he says. “I don’t think it is good for anyone. Young kids in the area are getting criminal records over this stuff,” Veen adds “that’s the scary part.”

– Heather Wright


  1. The best way to deal with drug use? Stop making it a crime. Drug use doesn’t happen because someone is a bad person who needs to be punished – drug use happens because of a variety of social problems. People who are using drugs and “partying 24-7” are not criminals. These are people who need psychological counselling, who need to learn coping mechanisms that help them deal with their problems which they are turning to drugs to solve.
    More than getting the police involved, get your community involved! Why are these people turning to drugs in the first place? What kinds of social supports are we missing? (Hint: Mental Health resources are the first place you should look.)

    • This is the stupidest thing I have ever read. They ARE criminals, because drugs are illegal!!! We all have our own demons, but why should the person that tried to rise above and be better for it, fall victim to the one who is weak. It is NOT ok to break in, assualt and rob an old women, because you got dealt a crappy hand in life. I understand what you are saying regarding mental health, but the resources are out there and not every person suffering from mental health concerns, turns to drugs. When someone is thrown a life vest and they choose to not accept it….prepare to drown!!!!

      • Stupidest thing you’ve ever read? Yikes. Just because we’re on the internet and I can’t see your face, does that make it alright to be rude? This is what I’m talking about. We’re a community here, and we need to treat each other like that. It isn’t you vs me, or those drug users vs us well-adjusted people. We all live here in Lambton county together. Let’s be human beings with some compassion. That’s what I’m asking for.
        Drugs are only illegal because we’ve chosen to make them illegal. The general secretary of the UN himself has called for us as a people to stop treating drug use as a crime – it’s a disease. (That’s what my link was, in case you didn’t bother reading it.)

      • Charlotte, that was uncalled for rudeness, I’m not afraid to say. Jay’s got a point, especially if you consider recent research that shows drug addiction as a real problem people are dealing with. They’re not doing it because they’re bad bad criminals – it’s because they’re sick. They need help.
        And where are these resources out there? Why aren’t they helping? Are you telling me that everyone suffering from drug addiction is being treated respectfully and humanely, without being demonized and judged, and getting the medical and psychological help they need — and THEN they are refusing the help and walking away? Do you know this for a fact? Because it’s my opinion that if the right kind of help was there, drug addicition wouldn’t be a problem anymore.
        We need more help programs, counselling, and a safe place for these people to get it. What they don’t need is to be treated like lesser-humans and moved out of town, or locked up out of sight. (Until recently, this is how most disabled people or people with mental health issues have been treated. It doesn’t help the people suffering, it only makes things look nice for everyone else.) That is not the world we should want to live in.

  2. I think the their are people with phycological issues that do turn to drugs , that is a problem everywhere but in oil springs the issue lies with the affordable housing that allows this activity to continue ,their are a few bad actors that do have problems but these shouldn’t be the community’s problems if certain people can be removed from the area and be held responsible for what is happening in our area at least we will have a fighting chance to grow and flourish into the future

  3. When are people gong to become accountable for themselves? It is not the communities fault people are on drugs. Accountability, responsibility, do the crime pay the time.

  4. I do not think the drug at issue is marijuana. Regardless breaking into someone’s home for any reason is not acceptable. You think you have the right to do your drug of choice- fine but get a job. So not involve people that choose to live differently. Especially a woman in her 80’s. There is no acceptable excuse. How is braking into someonea home and terrorizing them acting like a member if a community. I speak for a lot of people when I say that if by 23 you have not learned to treat people with decency and respect and so not know right from wrong then why should you be shown any of these rights.

  5. There is always going to be a concern about this topic. That is the world we live in. Not everyone addicted to drugs are bad people. Some of the become addicted from the medication their very own doctors keep prescribing them. The ones who assault break and enter and all the other harmful stuff they do could of been criminals long before they had an addiction. And the one person was rigjt you can’t just keep looking them away because you as a community are still “paying” for their problem. Not everyone will accept help but there should be man ways yto get it if you need it. Everyone is going to have their own opinion and that is their own right as a human but social media and the Web has made it that much easier to put out. Don’t fight each other on the topic help make it a better place for everyone. In this world there willalways be war, hate, crime, but we xcan help bring love, understanding and help to the ones who need it.

  6. Someone who does drugs, is not a bad person. Just because you do bad things, does not mean you are a bad person. We are all capable of terrible things, and we are all capable of good things also, certain things trigger those attributes in different people. On that note, you do the crime – you pay the time! Easy as that. Drug abuse can be side effects from numerous things: unstable home, bad childhood, financial stress/emotional stress (stress in general), peer pressure, mentally unstable, etc. the list goes on… But also on that note, THERE IS HELP. We have resources to help people with their problems, and your foolish if you choose not to use them, but it is your life – your decisions. We are a community, a very tight knit community at that, and we gotta stick together – have each others backs. We can’t be putting others down because of the choices someone has made. Throwing someone out of their home because of their bad choices is not right. The right thing to do, would be to turn the other cheek and reach out to them and help them. That is what community is.

  7. Being born an raised in oil springs everyone knew everyone an there was a mutual respect between people.In the past 5 years it has become obvious that kids do not want to be employed,are uneducated an have no respect for people or property.Could this have been correlated to not being disciplined for bad actions.Maybe if kids had jobs then they would learn responsibility an not be out partying all night and stealing or break an entering.This would be a start to cleaning up a village.I was raised to believe that if you want something you work hard to buy it,not steal it an to treat everyone as you would want to be treated.There are many different opinions on this matter an there always will be but something needs done so that an innocent homeowner does not go to jail by trying to protect their families and neighbours

  8. I personally believe that this sad instance is not to be blamed on any demographic, kids or drug users, and should be viewed as a situational circumstance. But you cannot force people from their homes, even if they are drug users, they still need somewhere to go. If maybe the economy of Ontario wasn’t so bad, people wouldn’t have the need to do drugs or steal from others. Where are these people going to go, if not the slums of the most affordable area? The street? I have been a resident of Oil Springs for the past 5 years and know many residents of the Creamery Apts. They are nice people, who have fallen on hard times and use drugs to escape the squalor of their existences. Forcing the people away is going to make a bigger mess than its worth. Not to mention, I could probably name some noteworthy ‘Leaders of Oil Springs’ who may or may not be directly interacting with drugs one way or another. Regardless, there is no reason to punish a demographic for the crimes of one.

  9. Well said M87 – someone is goin to go to jail injuring one of these tweekers simply for protecting their family and

Comments are closed.