'It destroys you': Grieving BC father calls for involuntary youth drug rehabilitation program | Globalnews.ca

“When you're on the sidelines watching your kids self-destruct and you can't do anything to force them to Rehabilitationit breaks your heart,” grieving father Greg Sword told Global News.

His daughter Camilla died at the age of 14 from taking toxic drugs.

In the months before her death, she was hospitalized twice for drug overdoses and met with a counselor and psychiatrist.

But it wasn't enough to save her.

“It was really frustrating when I came to British Columbia and realized if I lived in another province, I would probably be forcing my daughter to go to rehab,” Sword said.

In Alberta, there is a program called PChAD, which stands for Child Drug Protection Program.

Story continues below ad

Under the bill, parents can apply for a court protection order and force their children under 18 to be placed in a drug rehabilitation and stabilization safe house for up to 15 days.

Sward said his daughter's situation made him feel desperate and alone.

“People are going to judge you,” he said.

“You're always being judged. You feel like you're a bad parent. You feel like you've screwed up, you feel like you're always making mistakes, and any time you ask them for help, the answer is 'no.'

Click to play video:

Teen drug deaths on the rise

Souder said it was a challenge for him that even though his daughter was ready for help, the rehab center didn’t have room for her.

Latest Health and Medical News
Emailed to you every Sunday.

“It's just so confusing that kids can't vote, can't drive, can't drink alcohol, but they can decide what drugs to use,” he said.

Story continues below ad

“Even though it’s illegal for them, they can choose whatever drug they want, and if you’re a parent and you find out, there’s nothing you can do to stop them from doing it.”

Sward said the experience was frustrating and sad.

British Columbia's Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Jennifer Whiteside, did not speak to Global News about the incident but provided a statement.

“We are taking significant steps to expand access to treatment and provide more early intervention services to youth, designed to prevent small problems from becoming big problems in the future,” Whiteside said in the statement.

“For example, we have opened Foundry centres in 35 communities, providing free counselling, health and addiction services to young people as young as 12 years old. We are also expanding youth treatment beds and services, supporting thousands of young people each year to get the help they need.”

The Ministry of Health added in a follow-up statement that the government attached great importance to balancing individual rights with its obligation to help people with mental illness, and said that the government's priority remained voluntary treatment.

“There are situations where a patient needs to be detained involuntarily, and the B.C. Mental Health Act does provide physicians with the tools to handle these situations,” the report states.

Click to play video: 'UBC professor's book explores teen drug crisis'

UBC professor's book explores teen drug crisis

Critics of Alberta's plan say involuntary incarceration could damage relationships between parents and children and fuel their substance abuse.

Story continues below ad

Timothy McConnell, better known as TJ, In January 2021, he committed suicide in his solitary cell at the Edmonton Detention Centre.

His mom, Lana Greene, told Global News that taking TJ to the PChAD program was a desperate decision.

“It’s hard to explain, but he thought everything was normal, so he didn’t want to accept any help,” Green said.

She said the process destroyed the trust between her and her then-17-year-old son.

TJ committed suicide at age 23, but Green said she believes the involuntary rehabilitation program was the beginning of the end for them.

“He was very angry,” she said.

Green said she felt PChAD had brought to an end any trust her son had in the rehabilitation system.

“He didn't want to talk to me. So I went to Edmonton and stayed at a family's home so that if he changed his mind, I could be nearby,” she said.

“What ended up happening was his project ended, I went to pick him up, he went home, packed his bags and left again.

Story continues below ad

“It made him leave my family completely.”

Danya Fast, an expert on youth and addiction issues, told Global News that treatment programs like this one can have negative consequences.

“They sometimes conclude that the systems and services in place are simply not helping them,” she said.

“They try to control the patient and are actually quite effective in evading treatment.”

Sward said he knows PChAD isn't a perfect solution for teens who need help with drug and substance abuse, but he believes it can make a difference.

“Now I have nothing,” he said.

“My daughter has turned to ash because I didn't have a chance to save her.”

© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

উৎস লিঙ্ক