News / Calgary

Calgary Police Service suggesting changes to youth drug act

Fentanyl addicted teens falling through the cracks, say parents

CP File

Over the last year the Calgary Police Service has made no qualms about exposing the significant public health concerns as well as crime and safety risks posed by the deadly drug fentanyl.

Now, CPS said in a report to the Calgary Police Commission that they’re “exploring the possibility of recommending changes to the PChAD Act (The Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act.)”

According to Alberta Health Services PChAD is aimed at helping children under 18 whose use of drugs or alcohol risk causing themselves or others psychological or physical harm.

“The PChAD program allows you, as a legal guardian, to ask the Court for a protection order. This order will mean your child can be taken to a protective safe house for up to 10 days, even if he/she does not want to go,” reads an AHS website.

Mary Ann Zamko, whose daughter Jaidyn’s life was claimed by fentanyl said the PChAD currently lets parents and their children down during their most vulnerable times.

“It needs to be tougher,” she said. “As a parent, you’re trying to help your struggling child and when they say, ‘Well, 10 days is all we can do,’ that’s ridiculous.”

CPS seems to agree.

“Current legislation permits a ten-day protection order, which is insufficient to properly address addiction related issues with drugs such as fentanyl,” reads the report.

Another mother of a fentanyl addict, who wishes to remain anonymous, said PChAD has left her feeling helpless.

“Ten days is enough to get it out of their system but not enough to give them the mental and physical clarity to remain off of it,” she said. “Having to go back to court over and over to prove that isn’t helping anyone.”

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said the government is working with AHS, health providers, communities and law enforcement on the problem.

"I would encourage Calgary Police Services to share their feedback with us so we can look into this issue further, and I will also ask the fentanyl response team to include this in their ongoing discussions about the province-wide effort to address this problem," she said.

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