Pubdate: Sat, 23 Oct 2004
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2004 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Kevin O'Connor, The Leader-Post
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Drug Charge Nets Second Sentence

Another crystal meth user was sentenced in provincial court Friday, 
highlighting a growing new drug problem in the Queen City.

Louis Anthony Sebastian was sentenced to 17 days time served after pleading 
guilty to possession of methamphetamine, or crystal meth.

While only a year ago crystal meth cases were virtually unheard of in 
Regina courtrooms, they're becoming increasingly common, with at least 15 
cases currently before the courts.

Police agencies have raised the alarm in recent months that the highly 
addictive, potent and sometimes toxic drug could be the next big thing on 
city streets.

They're particularly concerned about the potential for people in the drug 
trade to manufacture crystal meth from off-the-shelf components, such as 
cold medicines.

The drug appears as white crystals and is typically heated and smoked in a 

Sebastian, 22, was charged Oct. 6 after Regina police pulled over three 
people in a vehicle during a routine traffic stop.

When Sebastian was searched, police found a cell phone, a butane pipe and 
3.4 grams of crystal meth, according to federal Crown agent Paul Malone.

Crystal meth can be consumed in small quantities and 3.4 grams can 
theoretically be stretched into 34 doses. Police originally charged 
Sebastian with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

However, the charge was reduced Friday to simple possession.

The drugs had a street value of between $200 to $300.

Malone told Judge Carol Snell that some addicts can go through as much of 
the drug in a single day as was found on Sebastian.

"Is he in fact addicted to crystal meth?" asked Snell.

"I was," replied Sebastian from behind the glass of the prisoners box.

Snell encouraged Sebastian, who had no previous history of drug offences, 
to seek treatment for his problem.

He was released Friday.

Meanwhile, the manager of addiction services with the Regina Qu'Appelle 
Health Region says her section is "on alert" for a spike in crystal meth cases.

"It's not something we're seeing a lot of yet, but it's on the rise," said 
Lorri Carlson.

Because it's new, there's some work to do to make sure addictions 
counsellors are up to speed on the latest research on crystal meth, she said.

"We don't now what the long term effects are," she said. There's reason to 
be concerned that the chronic effects of the drug will appear sooner in 
crystal meth addicts, she said. Also of special concern are the 
psychological effects described in the literature, she said.

Although marijuana and cocaine are the still the most common illegal drugs 
that cause problems in the Regina health district, counsellors are 
concerned about the potential for more widespread crystal meth use, Carlson 

"We're thinking, 'Geez, this doesn't look good,' It seems to be rising," 
Carlson said. 
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