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Alberta Will Take Kids.

By Hempology | October 26, 2005

The Klein government launched an offensive Thursday against illegal drug activity, announcing it will introduce legislation this spring to “rescue, defend and shelter” youth ensnared in drug-afflicted homes.

Province to seize drug addicts’ kids
Law would be first in Canada

Jason Fekete
Calgary Herald; with files from The Canadian Press

Friday, October 21, 2005

The legislation — which would be the first of its kind in Canada — is to protect children exposed to parents participating in illegal drug activity, including abuse, production and trafficking.

It would give the province the power to scoop youths from parents or guardians tied to drugs and allow the government to lay what’s essentially child abuse charges under child welfare legislation.

The province would provide a support system for children removed from a home.

“It’s a law to safeguard children from those who would abuse children through drugs,” Premier Ralph Klein told reporters, noting the legislation is being proposed by Children’s Services Minister Heather Forsyth.

“It involves not only crystal meth, but crack cocaine and other harmful drugs.”

Klein also announced his government will form a task force — headed by his wife Colleen Klein — aimed at curbing the escalating abuse of crystal methamphetamine.

Klein, who unveiled the strategy at his premier’s dinner in Red Deer, specifically targeted crystal meth, insisting tackling its abuse is a priority for his government over the next two years.

“It’s an absolute poison and it’s a scourge on society and it’s time to talk about it,” said Klein.

He said the province may also look at controlling the sale of ingredients used to make crystal meth — “Sudafed in particular.”

Colleen Klein said she’s repeatedly heard “horror stories” about the drug and it’s time to reach out to youth and educate them about its crushing effects.

“It is absolutely deadly,” she said of crystal meth.

“No human being should be putting fertilizer and Drano and iodine, all mixed together with a little ephedrine, into their system.

“It’s killing our children,” she said.

“It’s killing some unborn baby. The effects of this are so far-reaching and devastating.”

Along with Colleen Klein, the task force will be co-chaired by Robert Westbury of Edmonton, the chairman of the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research.

The task force will work with the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission on implementing education programs aimed at school-aged children.

Led by AADAC, the government will also next summer implement separate legislation — originally passed in the spring — that allows for mandatory assessment and detoxification for drug-addicted youth.

Although Alberta’s drug treatment agency recently opened a dozen detox beds in both Edmonton and Calgary, they are for voluntary patients.

So funding is needed to open detox beds for young people who will be held against their will, said AADAC’s Marilyn Mitchell.

“The legislation calls for those young people to be confined for five days,” said Mitchell.

“During that period, they need to be confined and assessed and supported through their withdrawal from the drug.”

Mitchell said those beds are expected to be in place by next summer to meet the deadline set by Klein.

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