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Safety report finds concerns over illegal drug use at Housing Authority property

A safety report for the Columbia Housing Authority revealed concerns about illegal drug use and harassment issues at Paquin Tower.

“We suspect some drug sales going on at Paquin Tower so we’re investigating that,” CEO Phil Steinhaus said.

Steinhaus said the Tower does have a slightly higher rate than the other Housing Authority properties.

“We have folks with a variety of disabilities, so there are some people on pain management medications,” he explained, “And people can swap or share medications they’re on which that can cause a problem.”

Steinhaus said this seems to be an isolated incident that is usually taken care of very quickly.

“If we find someone is involved in illegal activity, then we will terminate their lease,” he said.

Residents at Paquin Tower agreed, saying they do see some illegal drug activity but it’s an issue that has gotten much better over the last few years.

Gwin Ervin has lived in the Tower since 2008.

“There was all kinds of drugs back then, because lots of people that moved here was addicted to drugs, pills, cocaine,” Ewvin explained. “But now it seems to be much less.”

He said it could be because of the no-tolerance policy. Steinhaus agreed, saying these are usually isolated incidents taken care of very quickly.

“We don’t want someone using illegal drugs in Paquin Tower that will threaten the sobriety of other folks that are living there that have worked really hard to get to where they are now,” Steinhaus said.

Steinhaus said they’ll try to put the resident in a treatment program before automatic eviction to help avoid the negative cycle.

This all comes just one day before the board will vote to potentially ban smoking in all Columbia Housing Authority property.

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