Pubdate: Sat, 28 Jan 2012
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2012 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Bruce Owen


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

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."

- -------------------------------------



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.