Members of law enforcement, health care officials, and other professionals have met with Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen to talk about the growing meth problem in Southern Manitoba.

Bergen said it was important for her to get a sense of the situation.

"I think it's a problem that is probably growing in a lot of rural areas and, unfortunately sometimes the federal government has been more focused on some other drug problems that absolutely have to be addressed, like the Fentanyl problem, but they've been not recognizing how bad the meth issue is," she explained.

As a result, Bergen said those in the room had a very frank discussion about the issue and the effects that the drug is having on communities.

"How it makes people psychotic, very violent (and) very erratic. I heard some very detailed information about meth dealers and how they're different from regular drug dealers, which also makes it more difficult for law enforcement. (I also heard) from healthcare providers, in emergency rooms specifically, and sometimes the fear that they're dealing with when they've got somebody that's high on meth and there's no treatment for them immediately and they're extremely violent and erratic."

While these challenges and others were discussed, Bergen said the group also examined possible solutions, and noted education was pegged as a key to addressing some of these concerns.

"On the law enforcement side there were some frustrations around getting search warrants from judges who are in (Winnipeg) and don't understand the rural drug problem," she explained. Bergen said additional education and help is needed for front-line responders who need security and need to know that they are safe. She also indicated that more education is needed in schools so that young people clearly understand the dangers of meth use.

The MP plans to hold additional roundtables in the riding early next year.