Pubdate: Fri, 21 Jul 2017
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Page: 14


An eight-year prison sentence doled out at the Ottawa courthouse
earlier this week was a refreshing indication that the judiciary can
get it right - at least on drug crimes.

Routinely, judges seem to give out-of-touch, soft-on-crime rulings
that shock common-sense Canadians. But in a recent case, Ontario Court
Justice Ann Alder was uncompromising, throwing the book at a local
fentanyl dealer.

Simply put, those who deal in fentanyl are dealing in

It's lethal, even in small doses, and can be mistaken for heroin or
other drugs.

A drug user, accustomed to one dose of heroin, can easily overdose if
using a drug-laced with fentanyl.

It is also found in cocaine, crack and can be cut into ecstasy. And
often the user doesn't know it's there.

The opioid crisis has swept across the country. British Columbia has
been in a state of emergency for more than a year, and, earlier this
year was on pace to clear 1,400 deaths - hundreds more than the 935
who died in 2016.

Yes, it is important that we find ways to save those using drugs, and
prevent drug use in the first place. This means, rightly, there are
free naloxone kits at pharmacies in the city. That drug helps arrest
an opioid overdose.

But any approach to opioids must also include tracking down and
punishing those who deal death on our streets.

This requires police to make arrests, Crowns to take on the cases and
judges to mete out stiff sentences.

Not only so that the people responsible are appropriately punished,
but so that other dealers know that if they keep dealing drugs, the
law will catch up with them and they'll be punished.

There have been more than 500 hospital visits this year from drug
overdoses. It's not known if all are opioids, or how many were because
of fentanyl.

But 72 patients have had naloxone administered by paramedics this year
for opioid overdoses, according to a June 2017 report from Ottawa
Public Health.

Paramedics, doctors and social services workers are surely doing all
they can to treat addicts.

Dealers need to know that if they seek to make a profit from
endangering the lives of others, they'll lose several years of their
own - behind bars.
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