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Article Analysis

Total Marks: 50

Due Date: June 16 (Today) at the end of class

Required: Please write an Article Analysis on this article and please expand where necessary. I
also require you to write a page reflection on your personal thoughts and feeling about this.
The article analysis will break down and summarize the entire article and answer the questions:
who what where when and why. Your reflection should touch on what angers you, what brings
light to you and what courses of action could be made or what not be made, explain?

See below:

Fentanyl pills found in Ohio. Mike Smyth wonders why B.C. doesn't follow Alberta's lead and
crack down by regulating the pill presses that manufacture the illegal drug. Cuyahoga County
Medical Examiners Office / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Back when Mike Ellis was a Calgary police officer, he often dealt with the problem of illicit
opioid drugs getting into the hands of kids and addicts on the streets.

The biggest problem was OxyContin and we had a lot of break-ins and robberies at
pharmacies, Ellis said. It was after I made a career switch into politics that I heard about
fentanyl.

The powerfully addictive opioid 100 times stronger than heroin is often smuggled into
Canada through the mail, cut with other ingredients and made into pills before it hits the streets.

Now an opposition member of the Progressive Conservative Party in the Alberta legislature, Ellis
has kept in contact with his former police colleagues.

Just as in British Columbia, fentanyl is killing hundreds of people in Alberta, and the Calgary
cops were pleading for help.

Thats when I thought, What can we do at the provincial level? The answer was to go after the
pill presses.

Pill presses are high-speed machines that compress powdered drugs and binding agents called
excipients into hardened pill form.

No one has ever been able to explain to me why anyone would need to own a machine that can
make 18,000 pills an hour, Ellis said.

So I started talking to the government, the police, doctors, pharmacists, naturopaths. They all
agreed there was no reason these machines should be so widely available for sale to anyone. As a
province, we could act to control them.
The result was one of those rare instances of co-operation across political lines.

Ellis private members bill to strictly control, regulate and licence pill presses in Alberta passed
unanimously in the provincial legislature, including support from the governing NDP and
opposition Wildrose parties.

The new law the first of its kind in Canada takes effect on Jan. 1. People caught with an
unlicensed pill press will face up to a year in jail and a $375,000 fine.

Now Ellis has a question for his counterparts in British Columbia: Why arent you doing the
same thing there?

The police here are worried that once the Alberta law goes into effect, the drug dealers will
simply set up their labs on the British Columbia and Saskatchewan borders, he said.

Thats why we are asking B.C. and other provinces to follow our lead.

But British Columbia has chosen not to do that.

Last spring, Premier Christy Clarks Liberal government refused to support a private members
bill proposed by NDP MLA Mike Farnworth to regulate pill presses in B.C.

Instead, Clark went to Ottawa last week and called on the federal government to regulate the
machines, along with a list of other federal reforms including a border crackdown to stop the
drugs from flowing into B.C. in the first place.

But Ellis said now is not the time to wait for Ottawa to do something.

Provinces have power and provinces can act, he said.

We dont have time to wait around for the big bureaucratic machine of the federal government
to do something.

Its a point Ellis drove home during a recent meeting with Mike Morris, British Columbias
solicitor general and a fellow former cop.

I explained to him very respectfully, Look, every day we wait, there are more people dying. I
told him what weve done in Alberta and I offered him a cut-and-paste solution so British
Columbia could do the same thing.

The British Columbia government instead cancelled the scheduled fall sitting of the B.C.
legislature while the unregulated sale of pill presses continues unabated.

A company based in Coquitlam called the Tablet Press Club openly sells pill presses over the
Internet, including a $10,000 U.S. machine that produces 16,000 pills an hour.
The company also sells the excipient binding materials to produce pills in a rainbow of different
colours, making them look like candy.

Think about how frustrating this is for law enforcement, to see these things sold openly and
freely and theres nothing they can do, Ellis said.

The failure to regulate pill presses in British Columbia is just one area where the B.C.
government has come up woefully short in dealing with an illegal-drug overdose crisis that has
killed 622 people this year.

Clarks governing Liberals promised during the 2013 election to create 500 new addiction
treatment beds, but they have delivered fewer than half that number.

And the number of substance-abuse treatment beds targeted at young people dropped by 25-per-
cent to just 89 beds from 118 beds four years ago, according to government documents released
under freedom-of-information laws.

The government is taking action, however, when it comes to pre-election advertising.

An ad campaign called Fighting the overdose crisis is currently running on TV and online and
cost $275,000. Some of the ads prominently feature the premier saying: We must protect our
children.

I agree with the premier that this is an emergency requiring urgent action by the government to
protect kids.

Thats why I think the government should immediately commit the money to deliver on its
promised addiction-treatment beds.

The government should also recall the legislature and regulate pill presses the way Alberta has
done. The bill could be passed in one day with unanimous support in the legislature.

Running TV commercials and pointing fingers at Ottawa isnt good enough.

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