Pubdate: Fri, 13 Apr 2007
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Lynn Walker


Re: "Calgary going it alone to get drug court in action: Feds haven't
provided funding for program shown to keep addicts out of jail," The
Journal, April 9.

I applaud the pilot project to get treatment for drug addicts
convicted of crime. Both AADAC and the Salvation Army have offered to
provide treatment beds to successful applicants.

On March 23, 2007, I tried to get my 18-year-old daughter into a drug
treatment program in Alberta. She hasn't been convicted of any crimes
and is addicted to methamphetamine (crystal meth). She consented to be
sent to any treatment program I could find.

I was in contact with the Salvation Army and some treatment centres
providing services under the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission
(AADAC). I also tried a private centre in Calgary, the only one I
could find that takes women. All of these places indicated that there
were waiting lists and I couldn't get any services until the middle of
May. Whether I wanted to pay for services or not didn't matter. There
simply weren't spaces available.

Waiting this length of time was not an option. I had no way of helping
my daughter stay clean while awaiting entry into a treatment program.
I am also very educated with respect to the impact a drug addict has
in your home, and the risk to the rest of the family.

I finally found a treatment program for my daughter in British
Columbia through a high-priced private facility. She entered into this
program April 2.

To guarantee my daughter a space for treatment, should I have waited
for her to commit a crime, then be convicted? Is there consideration
for guaranteeing treatment under this pilot program when my daughter
was unable to access timely services? Is the intention to jump the
waiting lists to facilitate treatment for criminals? Is the intention
to leave the convicted addicts incarcerated until a treatment bed
becomes available?

Treatment facilities, both private and publicly funded, are lacking
within Alberta. The availability for drug treatment programs with
reasonable wait times has to expand to include all addicts who need
treatment, not just criminals.

Lynn Walker,

Sherwood Park
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek