Pubdate: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB) Copyright: 2012 Winnipeg Free Press Contact: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/send_a_letter Website: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/502 Author: Bruce Owen 'DRUGS KILLED MY YOUNGEST SON': A MOTHER'S ENDLESS PAIN WHEN Lori Davis spoke, her dead son Chad was beside her, in a dark wooden box. "I've been asked to provide a glimpse on the effects of drugs on a family," Davis told the media and others assembled at an RCMP news conference Friday. "So I will begin by introducing Chad. His urn of ashes is here on my left and is the only physical reminder my husband and I have of Chad. Drugs killed my youngest son.' With that, the room went silent. Reporters stopped typing on their BlackBerries and iPhones. The background noise of rustling paper and shuffling feet stopped. Davis went on to describe her family's battle with Chad, who almost openly sold marijuana and cocaine out of the family's suburban home before they booted him out after a police raid. His decomposing body, 189 days after he want missing, was found wrapped in plastic and stuffed face-first inside a barrel floating in the Lee River on July 23, 2008 by two cottagers. Two men were ordered to stand trial on first-degree murder in 2010. For Davis, drugs killed her son. "Life as we knew it will never be the same. Feelings of joy are rarely attained. We attempt to carry on a routine, but the deep sorrow and loss often consumes our being. Tears, feelings of isolation, are frequent daily events. Drugs have taken away our beloved youngest son, who left us with a heartache that will never go away." Davis, along with federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Andrew Swan, Manitoba's attorney general, were put on the podium by the RCMP as part of their effort to do more public outreach about the drug underworld, a web that extends throughput the province. RCMP assistant commissioner Bill Robinson said officers uncovered 53 marijuana grow operations last year, about double from the year before and each linked in some way to organized crime. More worrisome is many of the 15,000 marijuana plants RCMP uprooted were found in elaborate grow operations designed to produce potent pot fast. Mounties are also increasingly coming into contact with other drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and the prescription drug, oxycodone. For Robinson, that rise prompted him to organize Friday's event to issue a plea to parents to become more aware of what their kids are doing, no matter where they live in Manitoba. "I see too many kids at too young an age being exposed to this and not having the information to defend themselves," he said. "Quite frankly, to me, it's all about having kids armed with the information to defend themselves." Robinson said prescription drugs like Tylenol 3 often end up on the street from home medicine cabinets, where pills often sit forgotten when no longer needed. "All of sudden they're missing," he said. What's also a problem for Mounties is the amount of drugs, like potent marijuana, moving north to isolated First Nations and even destined for Nunavut, where they command even higher prices. "We're not trying to pat ourselves on the back about making 3,500 or 1,000 drug arrests," Robinson said. "It's about education, enforcement and trying to work with families to make sure tragedies like what happened to Lori's doesn't happen across Manitoba. "It's time to have that discussion." - ------------------------------------- [sidebar] 2011 DRUG SEIZURE HOTSPOTS Winnipeg: 46 Thompson/Mystery Lake: 75 Portage la Prairie: 72 Selkirk: 59 The Pas/District: 53 Headingley: 45 Dauphin: 31 Norway House: 28 Neepawa/Rosedale: 25 Steinbach: 23 Swan River: 21 Powerview/Fort Alexander: 18 Flin Flon: 15 Brandon: 9 - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.