MLA takes judge up on offer to visit court

Ryan Ross
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Conservative MLA James Aylward says it is heartbreaking to sit in court and see young people appear on charges involving drug addiction.

James Aylward visits Prince Edward Island provincial court

After an open invite from a provincial court judge, at least one MLA has taken up her offer to attend court to see the impact addictions have on P.E.I.

Stratford-Kinlock PC MLA James Aylward has visited the courthouse twice to see some of the cases going through the system.

“It’s heartbreaking to see all these kids come up on these charges and moving forward they’re more than likely going to have a record that’s going to follow them, just all because of an addiction,” he said.

Last month Judge Nancy Orr suggested MLAs visit her courtroom to learn more about the impacts of crimes committed by people with drug addictions.

That suggestion came after a 36-year-old former RCMP dispatcher’s sentencing for crimes she committed to feed her addiction to prescription drugs. In that case, Orr sentenced the woman, who had no previous criminal record, to 18 months in jail and ordered her to pay almost $30,000 in restitution.

Orr isn’t the only judge to voice her concerns about the addictions issue.

Chief Judge John Douglas recently spoke out in court saying drug abuse cases are an almost daily occurrence in his court and have become an epidemic.

Aylward visited both judges’ courtrooms, but said he tried to be inconspicuous so he wouldn’t be noticed and could just watch the proceedings.

“Try to observe,” he said.

What he noticed was the sheer volume of cases that came up during his time there that involved drug addictions.

“That’s one part of it,” he said.

Aylward said it also gave a sense of the high monetary costs of addictions because it ties up resources such as court staff, police officers, jail staff and lawyers.

“Just the sheer cost and the waste. The waste of our youth.”

 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Hopeless
    December 27, 2013 - 14:01

    I have 2 sons and when my wife and I took them for dr appointments 1 for a broken nose the dr prescribed 60 Percocet and we said no he doesnot need them and Advil did the trick .. My other son was a little hyper in the room when he was about 11 or 12 and right away the dr wanted him to go on riddelin and guess what we said no and it turns out he did not need it because he is now 18 and perfectly fine ...my brother was prescribed opiates when he was young and is in a battle with himself to kick his addiction on his own because the proper help is not available on pei.. The doctors are legalized drug dealers with no restrictions or repercussion for their actions .. Don't listen to the doctors when they try to prescribe your kids with these pills I'm sure glad I didn't with what's going on these days with addictions

  • Dm
    December 26, 2013 - 11:51

    Trying not to get noticed for a photo op that's a new one

  • Kris Kringle
    December 25, 2013 - 06:53

    Wow! I can't believe all of the unkind comments based on pure ignorance that are directed at parents and their addicted children. I pray that you never know the heartache of having a loved one wrapped up in addiction. I hope that you don't crash off of your high horse when one of your children do something that you told them not to do. I also hope that one day you are able to expand your thinking outside your own experiences. Not everyone is you. Not everyone's life experience is the same as yours. We are all meant to have different experiences and some of these experiences can seem very, very unfair - like a child becoming addicted when your family doesn't fit the stereotype. This can happen to any family because our society has changed. We live in a "pill" culture. Take a pill for everything. We have normalized taking prescription drugs. As one person commented, 5 million opiates were prescribed in a place of 140,000 people! Do you not think that is a problem? We don't have to have the pills in our homes for the kids to access them. They are everywhere! If you are a parent going through this, don't listen to the negativity of these anonymous commenters. There are many of us who do care and understand the bigger picture of what is going on.

  • Gerald O'Meaea
    December 24, 2013 - 14:16

    When a Judge ask our M L A s to set in on a court room to hear first hand about the drug problems on P E I it must be getting serious . All the well people are going out west to work .The addicts will be staying here on P E I and guess who will be paying to take care of them . Its time we open our eyes . Enough talk , its time to do something .

  • SlyFox
    December 24, 2013 - 12:33

    Things will not change till it affects one of their own,then it will be important issue.Till then it will be a band-aid help and nothing more.

  • fed up
    December 24, 2013 - 12:18

    Parent are you or your child taking advantage of the free programs. There is A .A ,N.A, Al-anon and many other sources of help. Swallow your pride and go to a meeting it may open your eyes.

  • don
    December 24, 2013 - 10:49

    Confused if the truth hurts then suck it up. it just shows you are a die-hard liberal who likes the idea of PEI going to hell. if you think back many readers from the island and others from canada has said in many postings about pei being a laughing stock of canada. but liberal voters wears blinders. just think your grand kids in 4 generations from now will be paying off your liberals deficit be proud.

    • huh
      December 24, 2013 - 16:23

      @Don. If we are indeed the "laughing sock of Canada", do you really think people from away say that because of the government in power? Would people from away even know who was in power here, let alone their polices? The reality is, anyone I have heard over the years call us a laughingstock have referred to our backwards nature, our EI culture, small mindedness, fear of change, and an inability to acknowledge there's a world beyond our borders. Best find a mirror to look in; you embody a lot of that.

  • same story
    December 24, 2013 - 10:48

    Parent is part of the reason for the chaos of addiction. Blame everyone but don't take a look at home. How many meds are you on. How much alcohol consumed around the kid? Any harmless weed smoke around or with the kid over the years . Look at yourselves before you blame a good man like Doug Currie for you kids problem . For the life of me I do not understand why Doug keeps this position because he can certainly do other much more pleasant jobs.

    • Response
      December 24, 2013 - 13:21

      Not on any meds. Never took a painkiller in my life except Advil. Never smoked weed, cigarettes, or drank alcohol. Any other questions? Perhaps you need to learn about the disease of addiction, the problem of over-prescribing of highly addictive pills (5 million opiates prescribed on PEI, population of 140,000 last year) that are getting into our kids hands. and how a lack of treatment for addiction can snowball into increases in crimes and diseases. You have a lot to learn but certainly don't mind spewing out ridiculous accusations that do more harm then good. Way to go! Merry Christmas.

  • Parent
    December 24, 2013 - 10:10

    Well, at least he went and observed. Doug Currie should spend a month there... in fact, I would like to see him visit every single person who is incarcerated because of a drug related offense and apologize for his lack of action. We tell these kids to "seek help", "stop taking the drugs", etc., and then they find out that there is no help and that everyone who should be helping people get over their addictions is putting up road blocks to prevent their recovery. I pray that 2014 is the year that the PEI government wakes up and starts treating addiction like the disease that it is and sees that not spending money in treatment and prevention is costing the tax payers a whole lot more money. The result of not treating an addiction impacts families, businesses, policing, schools, and society in general in a negative way. Parents, voters, and tax payers - demand better from your government!

    • REALLY
      December 24, 2013 - 10:31

      REALLY... Doug Currie should spend a month there... in fact, I would like to see him visit every single person who is incarcerated because of a drug related offense and apologize for his lack of action...Did Doug Currie introduce them to drugs, did he make them drink it, eat it, smoke it. NO Help, let their parents help them, why should it be on the backs of the taxes payers, I am swamped trying to look after my own family, they should look after theirs. I don't give a rats ass about the drug addicted little $h!ts, As a taxes payer I am sick of shelling out money for other peoples personal problems. James Aylward is just looking for a Headline, it's not like he has everything better to do with him time...

    • To "Really"
      December 24, 2013 - 10:53

      Why should Doug Currie pay for any of your and your family's health issues thenor for anyone else's for that matter? Unless you (and everyone else on PEI) eat extra healthy, exercise regularly, and don't drive, ski, skate, swim, or do anything else that puts you at risk of injury, why should I give a "rat's ass" about you! Why should I - as a taxpayer - pay for your health care? Give your head a shake. Your opinions have no place in the health care system or with diseases. I'll stick to the science and the experts. Thank you very much.

    • candrayo
      December 24, 2013 - 12:05

      @Really…..WOW…way to re-victimize those "drug addicted little $H!Ts". You need some education I think if you do not understand how the government is responsible for a great deal of addictions….among a great many other things like you being swamped looking after your family possibly…etc.

  • huh
    December 24, 2013 - 09:47

    If I'm a politician, and just read the posts by "Don" and"Typical", I'm now seriously wondering why I entered public office.

    • candrayo
      December 24, 2013 - 11:55

      Anyone who backs this government has either something to gain or is ignorant to what really is going on. Which one would you be? It is possible to be afflicted by both causes. But something to consider just the same…..huh?

    • huh
      December 24, 2013 - 16:13

      @candrayo: Not really anything to consider. Poster like that are people who come on here with one thing on their mind: complain. And they will make sure they do it, regardless of the story or who is in it.

  • don
    December 24, 2013 - 08:50

    where is the liberals and the rest of the mla's? it just proves they DO NOT GIVE A CRAP about anyone but themselves. wake up voters are you still that dumb ? dear God no wonder canada is thinking PEI is a joke.

    • Confused
      December 24, 2013 - 10:04

      You are confused don. The rest of Canada thinks you are a joke for whining about every story every printed.

  • Typical
    December 24, 2013 - 08:42

    Typical politician. Take a serious and dangerous issue and turn it into a sleezy photo op.