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Drug Treatment Option for Young Offenders Friday, 20 April 2007

OTTAWA – On April 16, 2007, Mike Lake, Member of Parliament for Edmonton – Mill Woods – Beaumont introduced Private Member’s Bill C-423, an Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).

Lake’s bill has two aspects.  First, it will add ‘referral to substance abuse treatment’ to the list of extrajudicial measures available to police officers when dealing with young persons, particularly first-time offenders accused of committing non-violent offences.  Second, if a young person referred to a treatment program does not complete it, the police officer may initiate judicial proceedings.

Lake explains that “it is becoming increasingly evident that youth addiction and youth crime are often interconnected.  We need to take concrete steps to address this serious issue.” As the law stands, there is no such option available.

This amendment responds to a number of parents who have contacted  parliamentarians requesting means by which a young person may be compelled to undergo drug abuse treatment.  Parents Empowering Parents, a local organization that is very concerned about substance abuse problems facing our youth is “ecstatic about this bill because this measure is not only about intervention but also prevention.” 

“The purpose of the bill is to get our young people the help they need – sometimes when they have not yet come to a place where they realize they need it,” said Lake.

For more information contact:

Monica Sabo
Special Assistant
Office of Mike Lake MP 

or consult the following links for supplementary information:

 - The Youth Criminal Justice Act

 - The text of Bill C-423

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Mike Lake - Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Wetaskiwin