Pubdate: Wed, 24 Nov 2010
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Teviah Moro


Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop is to be applauded for recognizing
the problem of children growing up in drug-addled households.

Dunlop's private member's bill aims to write into law that children
who are endangered by drug trafficking fall under the category of
abused children.

In support of his effort to amend the Child and Family Services Act,
the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) notes that the
legal oversight has "resulted in the turnstile effect of children
being returned countless times to homes" where narcotics pose risks.

No child should be exposed to the criminal underworld of drug
trafficking, which carries with it considerable potential for
violence. Nor should a child be subjected to an addict's lifestyle,
something that is quite often part and parcel of drug dealing.

Dunlop's bill would identify drug-endangered children for protection
under the law, making transgressions punishable by a sentence of up to
two years, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

It's almost an instinctual reaction to say that parents exhibiting
such vile and self-absorbed behaviour deserve to be punished as others
who physically abuse their children.

It could even be argued that the added threat of incarceration and
risk of separation from children might serve as a strong incentive for
parents to clean up their acts.

Be that as it may, it's to be hoped that if Dunlop's bill indeed
passes, law enforcement and the judiciary will exercise discretion.

In some cases, sending parents to more time behind bars, even if they
are heavily entrenched in the world of illegal narcotics, may not be
the best solution for children.

Many ex-cons will tell you that drug culture was just as prevalent on
the inside, turning them into even harder criminals on the way out. If
incarceration is the chosen punishment, it should be accompanied by
counselling to prevent further abuse. The increased deterrence won't
provoke some traffickers, or addicts, to even think twice about their

No change in the law will solve some problems, but Dunlop's bill gives
those trying to rescue children from desperate situations another tool
on which to rely.  
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