Town hall meeting called in Mayo, Yukon, to talk about drug crisis

In Mayo, Yukon, last week. The violence this month has deeply shaken people in the small community that was already grappling with an ongoing drug crisis. (Chris McIntyre/CBC)

The mayor of Mayo, Yukon, has called a town hall meeting for Monday evening to talk about drugs and violence in the community, in the wake of this month’s double homicide.

Two people were shot and killed in the remote community on March 11. Nobody has been arrested.

The violence has deeply shaken people in the small community that was already grappling with an ongoing drug crisis. Police have not directly tied the homicides this month to the drug trade, but they have referred to the Yukon’s substance use emergency in talking about the investigation.

The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun has also drawn a connection, passing a resolution last week declaring a substance use emergency in Mayo and calling for a number of strict measures to try to quell the local drug trade. The resolution states that the opioid emergency is “terrorizing” the public with “violence, crime, overdose and death.”

Bobbi Lee Melancon, who says she’s lived in Mayo for 50 years, described how people in the community no longer felt safe.

“We’re living in fear now. We’ve got to lock our doors, and it just doesn’t feel safe here. We’re wondering what’s gonna happen next, because it feels like something’s gonna happen next,” Melancon told CBC News late last week.

She said Mayo is no longer the community she used to know.

“It was safe, and now we have shootings in our backyard. It’s just not the same anymore.”

Quiet streets in Mayo last week. Some residents told CBC News they no longer felt safe in their community. (Chris McIntyre/CBC)

Some people simply decided to get out of town last week, according to another local resident who CBC News has agreed not to name because she fears for her safety.

“I don’t want to be around, I don’t feel safe here,” the woman said.

“I’ve got my shotgun loaded in my house — like, that’s to the point where I’m at right now. It’s scary.”

Monday evening’s town hall meeting has been called by Mayor Trevor Ellis for residents to have “a respectful dialogue on the recent tragic events, and to listen to citizens’ concerns, and possible solutions to the issues Mayo is struggling with related to drug addictions, and drug trafficking,” according to a public notice about the meeting.

It’s happening at the community hall in Mayo at 7 p.m. Monday.

Also on Monday, Yukon government officials are expected to meet with RCMP and local leaders about the issue, and the action plan proposed by the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun.

With files from Chris McIntyre

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: No opioid crisis in Canada’s eastern Arctic, CBC News

Finland: Finland’s alcohol consumption declines by 15%, Yle News

United States: Alaska’s drug problem worsening as police resources strained, Alaska Public Media

CBC News

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