In the western Canadian province of Alberta, parents of kids with drug problems can ask a judge to order the kids into special, lock-up alcohol and drug detox centers for up to five days. The hope is that after they've sobered up for a few days, the kids will realize they need help and get into a proper drug rehab program.
Called the Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act, the new law is seen as an act of 'tough love' by desperate but still-caring parents who feel they've run out of options. It carries a pretty strong message, from both the parents and the state, that drug addiction is not trivial, and here's your chance to do something about it.
Local officials term it a state-assisted intervention. The idea is simply to get teens away from their drugs and druggy environment long enough to flush some of the toxins out of their bodies, in the hope that they'll see the light and voluntarily check into a long-term drug rehab program.
The good news is, it actually works. It may not be drug rehab, but as a first step in the process, it's been a terrific success.
In the first 13 months of the program, from June '06 through August '07, 618 teenagers were ordered into the 5-day alcohol and drug detox and 49% of them admitted themselves into drug rehab when they were released. This works out to more than 300 drug-troubled young people who recognized that their lives were out of control and were willing to get into drug rehab to straighten out.
The Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) released some other interesting statistics about the new program:
* 55% of teenagers ordered into detox were girls
* 56% of those ordered into detox were only 12 to 15 years old
* 58% of those ordered into detox were still in school - not homeless street druggies
* Nearly all of the kids abused more than one substance at a time
* The most-used drugs were alcohol (98%), marijuana (96%), psychedelics like LSD and ecstasy (73%) and cocaine (57%)
And for parents who might have kids with drug troubles, you should know that the AADAC also found that the more actively supportive and involved parents are, the greater are the chances that their kids will successfully kick their drug habits through state-assisted intervention and a successful drug rehab program.