Sunday, October 24, 2010

Administered 'p'?

The decision to charge a mother with administering 'p', a Class A drug, to her children is a bit of a worry. When I read the headline I thought she must have been directly dosing them with it in some form. But no. She was smoking it, not in their presence (her claim), but in their environment.

Administering a Class A drug carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

So the same potential offence is now being committed in every home with children where parents smoke cannabis, albeit a Class C drug. Any woman who smokes cannabis or 'p' or uses any other illegal drug while pregnant could also be charged for administering the drug.

And why is she being charged for administering 'p' but her partner is not?

Going off on a related tangent, what about a pregnant woman on the methadone programme? OK. Methadone, also highly addictive, is a Class B controlled drug but its effect on a foetus is arguably undesirable. (I say arguably because there is a school of thought that says withdrawal from opiates during pregnancy could be even more stressful for the foetus).

Personally I believe there is a significant difference between putting wine in a babies bottle and drinking wine while breast feeding. But both would result in traces of wine in the child's system. Alcohol is of course still legal (although the way this country is carrying on it shouldn't surprise if we don't head closer and closer towards prohibition). But the example serves as an analogy for the difference between active and passive. And degree.

If successful, this case will open all sorts of cans of worms.


MacDoctor said...

This is the same argument used for banning smoking in public areas. While I can see a case for charging both parents with child abuse, I fail to see how a case can be built for forced administration. The clear intent of the law there is to punish those who would intentionally get someone hooked on an addictive drug, presumably for profit. The punishment for that evil act can never be sufficiently high, in my opinion.

In this case you could probably successfully argue that her children should be removed, but not that she should be thrown in jail.

ZenTiger said...

There ought to be a law about using laws in ways they were clearly not intended to be used.

The punishment needs to involve flogging.