A Saskatoon mother is pushing for parents to have more power to keep teens in rehab.
Two years ago, Carla Fenton-Katchmar's 16-year-old daughter, Chantaey, died of a drug overdose. She had left home and was living in Edmonton.
Fenton-Katchmar tried to get her daughter to stick with several drug treatment programs, but at 16 years old, Chantaey could legally leave.
On two occasions, Fenton-Katchmar got court orders forcing her daughter into treatment. But by law, minors can be held against their will for only 15 days at a time (five days plus up to two five-day extensions). Any more time requires a new application to a judge.
' I want to honour our daughter' - Carla Fenton-Katchmar
"Here I was standing there as her parent, walking away from her, and I felt so useless because they would not give me the opportunity to take her and get help for her," Fenton-Katchmar said.
Fenton-Katchmar has been circulating a petition for the past year and a half and today she took it to the Saskatchewan Legislature.
The petition asks that lawmakers give parents more power to put their drug-addicted children into treatment facilities. Fenton-Katchmar has collected more than 2,000 signatures.
"What I'd like to see is parents could put their kids into a treatment lodge, but it wouldn't just be 28 days or six weeks, it would be a year," she said.
Rand Teed, a youth addiction counsellor, said he agrees it is rare teens will choose treatment on their own.
"Kids who are using regularly never have proper brain function, so to expect them to choose to go to rehab is irrational on our part," Teed said.
Today, Saskatchewan Health Minister Dustin Duncan said the government has no current plans to change the amount of time a minor can be held in a facility against their will.
Duncan said the mental health commissioner is reviewing the issue and will present a report and recommendations in the fall.
Still, Fenton-Katchmar said she will keep fighting.
"A bit of my heart breaks every time," she said. "I could walk away today and let those other parents figure it out, but I can't do that because I want to honour our daughter."