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Wednesday, February 28 2024 @ 01:35 MST

Red Deer MLA cracks peanut with sledgehammer.

Alberta PoliticsListening to CBC1 this morning, as is my habit on the way to work, I heard about the MLA for Red Deer North (Mary Anne Jablonski) who is tabling a private member\'s bill in the legislature that will force youth with addiction into treatment. On the surface to the casual observer this doesn\'t seem like a bad idea, and I\'m sure to the party faithful it\'s a great idea. It\'s not a good idea for a couple of reasons. First and most importantly, it won\'t work. I speak as a teacher in a drug treatment program for teens. The research into addiction and into changes needed to overcome addiction to date show that in order for a person to be successful in overcoming their addiction, they need to want to change. People who are forced into treatment (and we do get some people like that) generally are not successful in overcoming that addiction. This new bill with do just that though, force teens into some form of secured treatment facility. What form the “treatment” will take is unknown at present, though I suspect, given the source (Tory backbencher) they\'d prefer the “tough-love” kind of boot camp which will be even less successful. So we\'re going to have a system where kids who don\'t want\' treatment will be forced into treatment. Since they won\'t be in a position where they\'re ready to change, they won\'t. So after some period of time, they\'ll be released and head right back to the drugs, except now they\'re “cooler” in terms of drug culture as they\'ve done time.

The second reason it\'s not a great idea is that there aren\'t enough treatment spots available for the amount of business the new act will generate. I suspect the government will allow private business take up the slack, which begs the question of who\'s going to pay for this treatment? If the government, will the money be diverted from the current government treatment programs so that the private centres can operate? Or will it be a user pays system, where the family of the teen will have to shell out the tens of thousands of dollars that most private residential treatment facilities charge for their services? None of this was really answered by Ms. Jablonski in her interview.

With luck, this bill will suffer the fate of most private member\'s bills, and not pass, though this is not a certainty given the type of people who populate the Tory backbench. If it does pass, I suspect it will make a big mess that will help no one, let alone those who it\'s intended to help.
Red Deer MLA cracks peanut with sledgehammer. | 2 comments | Create New Account
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Red Deer MLA cracks peanut with sledgehammer.
Authored by: Anonymous onMonday, January 24 2005 @ 09:45 MST
Hmmm - lessee - take an addict, likely with a raft of other issues in the mix, and "force" them into treatment for their addiction.

Brilliant logic. For a party that prides itself on being prudent with taxpayer dollars, this is an amazing waste of effort!