Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2006
Source: Red Deer Advocate (CN AB)
Copyright: 2006 Red Deer Advocate
Author: Jackie Czerniak


Re. Rick Zemanek's Nov. 4 Editorial Dart Concerning Expectant Mothers 
Harming Their Babies by Ingesting Narcotics:

The dart would be better aimed at our three levels of government: 
municipal, provincial and federal.

Yes, addiction is an insidious disease. It's the kind of disease that 
warrants aid and assistance to the afflicted.

Homelessness has been widely discussed lately, and homelessness is 
definitely part of the problem for an addicted pregnant woman.

Please let me know of an agency in our city that provides a warm, 
safe environment with long-term addiction counselling and aftercare 
for an addicted pregnant woman and her child.

Most often, the only place a woman in this predicament can find to 
stay is at either a drug house or a flop house.

So what kind of nourishment will she eat? What kind of hygiene will 
she practise?

Will she stay away from drugs while living in a drug house? For those 
people who smoke nicotine, can you not smoke when people are smoking 
around you?

By the way, the most deadly toxin for a fetus is our national legal 
drug: alcohol, which causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Only after the fetus has been deprived and poisoned for nine months 
will the Alberta government swoop down and take the baby away from the mother.

Is there any help for her then? No, sadly, she will probably get 
pregnant again.

Now, where is the baby's father in this equation? Let's not forget: 
it takes two to tango.

Well, he's most likely an addict too, and has turned to criminal 
activities to support his habit and pay off his dealer.

The irony of this situation is that he has probably been caught and 
is now enjoying three squares a day, a warm bed and watching cable 
TV, albeit, once again, without the benefit of drug rehabilitation counselling.

Most likely, without long-term drug rehabilitation and effective 
after care, this "dead-beat dad" will relapse, re-offend, 
re-impregnate the same or another female addict, and re-enter the 
legal system. This is our revolving door philosophy that proceeds unabated.

Folks, it's costing us millions, and evidenced by reading the same 
sad names in the local paper.

This is a fine example of our Alberta Advantage.

I believe that our Alberta Advantage is misguidedly stashed in a bank 
vault. Our Alberta Advantage encourages societal values and living 
conditions akin to a Charles Dickens novel.

The Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness is in its very early stages of 
addressing these important humanitarian issues, albeit with 10 years 
to completion. I don't understand why this process would take 10 
years, but hey, at least it's a start and acknowledgment of a problem.

Maybe our city needs a Public Task Force to investigate a proposed 
$46 million arts centre/museum when we have other social needs to meet.

It's a no-brainer to me, but all I see is each level of government 
standing in a triangle, pointing the finger at each other as to who 
is responsible to provide funding and assistance.

Well, I'll tell you who is shouldering the tax burden, at least: taxpayers.

I would like to encourage Albertans to ensure the incoming leader of 
this province understands addiction; its causes; the benefits of 
rehabilitation and aftercare; and the need to change and/or create 
laws to stop the dealers.

Also, the new leader must have the integrity and commitment to turn 
the tables for our addicts, our homeless, and our society.

Jackie Czerniak

Red Deer
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