Mother petitions for change in laws
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 1:37PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2012 2:18PM CST
A Saskatoon mother wants more rights for parents who are trying to get help for a teenager with a drug addiction. And she’s started a petition to try to make some changes.
Carla Fenton Katchmar lost her 16 year old daughter Chantaey this summer to a drug overdose. Her daughter was living in Edmonton at the time.
Katchmar says once a teen turns 16, they can turn down addictions treatment. She says that leaves parents and addictions workers almost powerless to intervene.
"Our rights are gone,” said Katchmar. “These young kids have more rights than we do… so then - they're 16 - i can't imagine how you can think they're ready to take on the world on their own and say yeah I know best.”
Katchmar’s petition asks the provincial government to change the legislation, giving parents the right to send a child for addictions treatment, whether the child wants it or not.
The province's Childrens' Advocate says he favors the change. "It's a touchy thing," Bob Pringle told CTV. "Face it, you're taking somebody's liberties away." Pringle is also calling on the provincial government to develop a strategy to better deal with addictions among the young.
Others who work in the field believe there are many improvements needed. Don Meikle works with Egadz in Saskatoon, an agency that deals with youth at risk. He says even the way the treatment programs are designed needs revamping.
"After five to fifteen days (of treatment) we release them," said Meikle. "Yes, they have an addictions worker, but there's no meat and potatoes at the other end to actually do anything and support these young people."
At the same time, he cautions forcing a 16-year-old into treatment could just push them farther away from their family or caregivers.
Katchmar believes more intervention might have made the difference in her daughter's life.
Her petition is circulating around the city. It can also be found online at chantaeysstory.com