April 19, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Matthew Robert Blake



The object of this Bill is to prevent persons who have a tendency towards the drug habit from becoming what are known as dope fiends. If a man has a broken leg, in the United States, under the Harrison Act there must be a record if he is given a quarter of a grain or half a grain of morphine. We do not

need such restrictions in Canada. This resolution covers that point, for it provides that no drugs shall be given except for medicinal purposes, and on prescription. I remember a case in one of the cities in Canada where a doctor was approached by a drug fiend and offered a fabulous sum for an ounce of morphine. The doctor proceeded to procure the drug, but by a very ingenious trick on the part of the "patient" he was nicely taken in. He had arranged to meet his client at a hotel, and after delivering the drug, he was instructed to go to another room to receive the price of the sale; but when he went there was nobody there, and, of course, he did hot get the money he expected. The drug ring to-day is the greatest menace we have to contend with in Canada. Winnipeg is one of the important centres for the distribution of drugs, and, according to this morning's papers, $35,000 worth of drugs, which would have been sold at double that figure, were caught on one of the chief men in the drug ring in Toronto. Now, these restrictions cannot be made too stringent if we are to stamp out the drug traffic. The provision that no prescription shall be used more than once is, I think, necessary and wise, because in the large cities certain people have acquired the drug habit, and if they were allowed to refill a prescription indefinitely you might as well abandon any attempt to control the traffic. The suggestion that this resolution will work a hardship on those people who obtain cough medicines has nc weight, in my opinion. I cannot recall, in the course of my practice last year, any case in which such a prescription has been filled more than twice, and it is easy to renew the order. I do not think, therefore, that there will be any hardship on anyone. We must restrict the sale of these drugs, and to do so we must prevent the indiscriminate use of them. I have gone over these amendments with the officers of the Health Department, whose explanations are entirely satisfactory. In connection with almost every Act, some loopholes are always discovered after the Act has operated a certain time, and steps should be taken without delay, to repair them and make the law as workable as possible. I do not think that more than once or twice in a large practice will there be found any case of real hardship from the operation of section 1.
Mr. DuTREMBLAY: Will the suggestion I have made regarding the matter of sworn complaint be embodied in the Bill?

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