Laws – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students Fri, 26 Oct 2018 19:49:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://www.langaravoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LOGO-100x100.png Laws – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca 32 32 Alan Cassels: Gives a lecture on prescription drugs https://www.langaravoice.ca/33892-2/ Wed, 24 Oct 2018 23:47:49 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=33892 Reported by Adam Levi The answer to combatting Canada’s overuse of prescription pills could be as simple as increasing your sense of healthy skepticism, said a health policy expert at a lecture put on by the Langara College Retirees Committee. Last Thursday, Alan Cassels, a pharmaceutical policy expert, made two things clear at his Say […]]]>

Reported by Adam Levi

The answer to combatting Canada’s overuse of prescription pills could be as simple as increasing your sense of healthy skepticism, said a health policy expert at a lecture put on by the Langara College Retirees Committee.

Last Thursday, Alan Cassels, a pharmaceutical policy expert, made two things clear at his Say “Know” to Drugs: Questions Anyone Should Ask About Prescriptions talk: Do your own research about prescribed medications and don’t hesitate to question your doctor when being prescribed a medication.

“I think skepticism is healthy,” Cassels said. “Especially when you’re dealing with the pharmaceutical industry.”

Using acronyms as reminders

For nursing student Jelise Friesen who attended the event, Alan’s BRAN acronym, which stands for benefits, risks, alternatives and nothing, is a great way for healthcare professionals and their patients to start thinking about prescribed medication in a more constructive way.

“Advocating for your own health is a big thing,” said Friesen. “As a nurse I think advocating for your patients is very important. I really liked the BRAN acronym. I think that will be easy for people to remember.”

Reaching individuals at all ages

It was the hope of Roy Sinn, Chair of the Langara College Retirees Committee, that students, not only the elderly, would learn something from the talk.

“In part I was thinking that this would be good for students,” Sinn said. “Particularly students that are involved with health.”

“We want them to see that there is an organization out there that can function at an arm’s length from the pharmaceutical companies and from organizations that have a special interest,” he said.

 

Listen to an interview with Alan Cassels in our latest episode of Langara’s Voice podcast

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Opinion: Vancouver Police Department needs to step up when it comes to marijuana laws https://www.langaravoice.ca/opinion-vancouver-police-department-needs-to-step-up-when-it-comes-to-marijuana-laws/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:00:39 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=32463 Reported by Agazy Mengesha In Vancouver, where you can walk for five minutes and see three different dispensaries, it can be easy to forget that cannabis is still illegal to sell. But until someone complains, no one seems to care, not even the police. A new dispensary called Air Collection Reserve recently opened on Marine […]]]>

Reported by Agazy Mengesha

In Vancouver, where you can walk for five minutes and see three different dispensaries, it can be easy to forget that cannabis is still illegal to sell. But until someone complains, no one seems to care, not even the police.

A new dispensary called Air Collection Reserve recently opened on Marine Drive. But its neighbours (which include a temple and a daycare) have already begun taking their complaints to police and it may not be long until the dispensary is closed down for good.

Soon to be legal

With cannabis legalization on the horizon, law enforcement has recently been more tolerant towards dispensaries. But, as has been reported by local media, Vancouver Police have long maintained that making arrests for cannabis possession and distribution was not a priority.

Nevertheless, this attitude can still change very quickly when communities begin regularly and loudly registering complaints.

Just over a month ago, the illegal open-air marijuana market located at Robson Square was shut down by the Vancouver Police Department, resulting in two arrests. Complaints had reportedly been filed by the food cart vendors operating in the area, who were concerned that the cannabis market was operating without a license and possibly selling cannabis products to minors.

Solid legal framework needed

The dispensaries, however, are not to blame for taking advantage of an opportunity to make money. If anyone has to claim responsibility, it’s the VPD.

Thanks to the VPD’s apathy towards policing dispensaries, marijuana exists in a strange, quasi-legal state where no one’s quite sure what’s okay to do and what might get them arrested and charged. Consumers might complain, but recreational marijuana needs to be entirely legal, or entirely illegal and fully enforced – no grey areas. A solid legal framework helps everyone involved.

 

 

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BC’s inmates need better mental health support https://www.langaravoice.ca/bcs-inmates-need-better-mental-health-support/ Tue, 28 Nov 2017 04:13:46 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=31061 In July 2015, Matthew Kalin Brenner attempted suicide after being charged with murder and sent to the North Fraser Pretrial Centre. Five-and-a-half months later, he slid through the third-floor safety bars in the correctional institution and jumped to his death. He was the second person to die by suicide aft er jumping from the third tier in the provincial prison since 2012. Advocates for prisoners say that offenders like Matthew, with addiction and mental health issues, need more support and intervention services before and during their time in jail.]]>

Reporter by Natalia Buendia Calvillo and Lisa Steacy

In July 2015, Matthew Kalin Brenner attempted suicide after being charged with murder and sent to the North Fraser Pretrial Centre.

Five-and-a-half months later, he slid through the third-floor safety bars in the correctional institution and jumped to his death. He was the second person to die by suicide aft er jumping from the third tier in the provincial prison since 2012. Advocates for prisoners say that offenders like Matthew, with addiction and mental health issues, need more support and intervention services before and during their time in jail.

Matthew’s uncle, Jonathan Brenner said “Matt’s life was quite lost well before all of this and that’s really the bigger tragedy, is that his life was lost already through mental health and addictions.”

Brenner said he and his family were angry after Matthew’s death because “they knew he was a high risk yet there were circumstances where he was able to get to a place where he could kill himself and apparently, this was not the first time that this circumstance had happened.”

“When they took him into custody and determined that he had mental health issues and was at a suicide risk they did not protect him from himself and that is completely unacceptable,” he said.

More can be done: experts

Suicide was the cause of 18 per cent of all deaths in correctional facilities between Jan. 1, 2012 and May 31, 2017, according to a report from the B.C. Coroners Service.
Fourteen people died by suicide in B.C.’s federal and provincial correctional facilities during this four-and-a-half-year period.

   Jen Metcalfe, the executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services said that in B.C., “prison is the place where we keep the vast majority of people with the highest mental health needs.”
   “We need to spend more money on social workers and counsellors, programs and people that can help the prisoners deal with trauma. So many prisoners have histories of trauma,” she said.

   Senator Kim Pate, a lifelong advocate for prisoners’ rights, said that it’s crucial to commit to “looking at ways to actually prevent people from being in prison in the first place who might be at risk of either developing mental health issues or having those mental health issues exacerbated by the conditions of confinement.”

   As he battled addiction, Matthew committed dozens of petty crimes throughout the Lower Mainland including multiple counts of theft under $5000, possession of stolen property and breaches of conditions. But there was no violence until he allegedly murdered Marcelino Perez Rodriguez in a Downtown Eastside park on July 17, 2015.

“Matthew was never necessarily an angry child; he was actually fairly docile, often he would prefer to joke rather than get angry. He wasn’t one of those mad kids all the time, this was completely out of character for him,” Brenner said.

  Brenner heard from other family members that on the day Rodriguez was killed, Matthew was delusional. “Matthew one morning woke up and whether it was hearing voices in his head or whether he was actually having auditory hallucinations or delusions, it sounded as though he was having a psychotic break and he was being told to kill someone that day,” he said.

Growing up in Abbotsford, Matthew “was a personable young fella and a good-looking handsome young fella but he struggled with school and authority,” said his uncle, a registered nurse who lives in Campbell River.

  Brenner said Matthew “started to get into drugs at a fairly young age, at around 16. After a year or two he ended up going missing and we found out that he was on the eastside where he was heavily into drugs.”

No inquiry needed


According to the coroner’s report into Matthew’s death, his cellmate observed him testing the bars on the third tier at North Fraser Pre-trial Centre on the morning of Jan. 8, 2016. At 12:36 p.m. inmates and staff witnessed the young man jump. His injuries were determined to be “incompatible with life,” the report said.

An inquest into a death in custody is not mandatory if the chief coroner determines that “there was no meaningful connection between the deceased person’s death and the nature of the care or supervision received by the person while detained or in custody.”

When asked if there would be an inquest into Matthew’s death, the B.C. Coroners Service said in an email that his file was closed.

  Colin Hynes, of the B.C. Public Safety Ministry, said a critical incident review was done into Matthew’s suicide “to investigate the tragic circumstances of his death and to make recommendations that may prevent a similar incident.”

  The coroner’s report said after his first suicide attempt, Matthew was diagnosed with methamphetamine-induced psychosis. Showing symptoms of “interrupted sleep, religious and grandiose delusions, and auditory hallucinations.”

The report said Matthew later stabilized, his psychosis had resolved and staff believed he was no longer suicidal.

     Metcalfe said that when inmates do express suicidal thought or plans, they are put in an observation cell. “It’s a cell that’s mostly glass, usually pretty cold. The only thing they have is a little gown they call a ‘baby doll.’”
“They don’t have underwear or anything else. They are in this cold room.

They have a mattress and they are given a ‘suicide blanket,’ which is a shorter sort of blanket that they can’t tear,” Metcalfe said.

     Even when inquests are held,  Senator Pate said the recommendations stemming from them are sometimes not adequately implemented.  “If they had been implemented, we probably would not be seeing the numbers of people both developing mental health issues, and worse still, dying in prison,” Pate said.

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Booze laws not bringing much change to Langara campus https://www.langaravoice.ca/booze-laws-not-bringing-much-change-to-langara-campus/ Fri, 21 Feb 2014 01:40:22 +0000 http://www.voicedev.xyz/?p=8687 Devin Burton doesn't drink much at the LSU Cafe because it's too expensive
Devin Burton doesn’t drink much at the LSU Cafe because it’s too expensive

British Columbia’s liquor laws are changing, so what will that mean for Langara students? Not much it seems.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton announced earlier this year that the government would be implementing all 73 recommendations included in a report that will overhaul provincial liquor laws.

She did not set a date when the changes would be implemented.

The changes are broad, but there are a few sections that may be interesting to Langara students.

Recommendation 16 allows liquor license holders to offer time-limited drink specials, also known as happy hours, as long as the price is not below a “prescribed minimum consistent with those advocated by health advocates.”

This could be huge for Langara students who otherwise patronize a campus pub that does not offer deals on alcoholic beverages.

Nam Yoo, owner of the LSU Café, said he would probably not offer a happy hour special because he doesn’t want to encourage excessive drinking on campus.

“Honestly, I trust people to have one or two bottles or pints of beer. I don’t want them drinking excessively in here,” he said.

According to director of facilities, Wendy Lannard, last year campus security responded to zero incidents originating from the LSU Café.

“Langara has had no issues involving people drinking too much on campus,” she said in an email.

Recommendation 43 streamlines the application process for special occasion licenses by bringing in online applications.

This means it would be easier for groups on campus to have licensed events similar to UBC’s Block Party, or to raise money for charity.

Ed Hensley, secretary to council for the Langara Students’ Union, said the LSU does not currently have an official position yet because the issue has not yet been raised before council.

“Risk and mitigation of risk [to students] will be a major aspect of any changes to the availability of liquor on campus,” he said.

He added that the LSU doesn’t typically focus on having alcohol available for events on campus.

Langara criminal justice student, Devin Burton, said she would “definitely go to the campus pub if they had a happy hour,” adding that she has not been there yet this year.

Read the report in full:

B.C. Liquor Policy Review Report by John Yap

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