Canada province will seize children of drug addicts

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Canadian province Alberta wants to be able to remove children from the homes of parents who recklessly abuse drugs or are involved in selling them.

According to Premier Ralph Klein the new legislation, being developed by Children's Services Minister Heather Forsyth, will be introduced in the legislature next spring and specifically targets crystal meth.

The law is the province's latest attempt to curb the effects of crystal meth, a destructive and highly addictive drug that has been gaining popularity in the province.

Klein's government is also moving ahead on plans allowing authorities to force young drug addicts to get treatment, putting them in locked facilities for up to five days.

He says the legislation will give the government the power to rescue, defend and shelter such children who are being exposed to activities and toxic chemicals that put their lives at risk.

But according to Mark Cherrington, a youth and family court worker in Edmonton, the legislation already exists to apprehend children from dangerous homes, but the real problem is a lack of safe places to put them once they are removed.

Cherrington says there is nowhere to get help for these parents and no resources.

He says an increase in resources rather than a shifting of resources, is needed.

However according to Klein the new legislation is similar to the Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act, which allows the province to intervene, and he doesn't anticipate a legal challenge will hamper the new legislation moving forward.

Klein has also established a task force, co-chaired by his wife Colleen, to determine the province's long-term plans for fighting the drug.

In an attempt to deal with the epidemic Alberta has opened a dozen beds for crystal meth addicts who want treatment.

The drug, which is created in home labs using toxic chemicals and ingredients that can be purchased at the local pharmacy, such as cold medicine, is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system and is 10 times as powerful as regular speed.

Addicts are known to go long stretches without eating or sleeping, and have an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and liver and kidney damage

It is also suspected that users suffer brain damage, including memory impairment and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts.

The federal government has already promised said to impose stiffer sentences on people who make, import, sell or possess crystal meth.

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