Pubdate: Tue, 10 Apr 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: Charlayne Thornton-Joe
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Re: "Inquest called into inmate's death," March 31.

Although I do not know the circumstances of this particular case, the 
article said the woman had a long history of drug abuse, and had been 
arrested for violations of bail conditions.

What concerns me is that more individuals could die in police cells, 
as persons with drug addiction first and foremost need proper medical 
treatment and supervision.

Anyone who has experienced any kind of addiction, whether themselves 
or family members, knows that what many of these individuals need is help.

Addiction is a health issue and police cells are not the best 
location to help these individuals.

As long as police continue to be seen as the solution for addiction 
and mental health issues, the effective and safe solution continues 
to be missed.

The police themselves know that often, addiction issues are more of a 
health than enforcement issue, but with so many gaps in the way of 
outreach, detox and treatment, the public rely on the police to deal 
with the concerns that we see in the capital region.

I hope that when the inquest is completed there will be 
recommendations that funding be enhanced to provide for more 
education, more detox beds, and more treatment centres.

Until we are committed to solving the root cause of addiction, we 
could end up seeing more concerns on our streets, more policing being 
requested, and more unnecessary deaths in our cells.

Charlayne Thornton-Joe,

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