Protecting Addicted Youth,

Angie Hamilton

September 13th 1:30-3:00pm Sky Room



 We have a duty to protect addicted youth. Are we protecting them? What more can be done?

The majority of youth with substance use disorder (SUD) at any given time are not seeking treatment. We must determine the reasons for this and address them in order to break down these barriers to treatment. Recovery capital erodes while youth wait for, or do not seek, treatment.

Is Canada upholding or violating the rights of addicted youth under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

Solutions include:

  1. A Public Health Approach to Drugs – Is decriminalization, regulation and control of drugs a radical approach, or is the status quo?
  2. Resources and Training on an Urgent Basis – We need publicly-funded, accessible, timely, compassionate, evidence-based treatment. Today, every adjective is an issue.
  3. Protective Health Laws

It can no longer be taboo in Canada to speak of compulsory pathways to treatment (involuntary treatment). The laws in each province and in the U.S. are different. We need to develop best practices to ensure addicted youth receive treatment instead of suffering the outcomes of untreated addiction and other mental health conditions.


  1. Reduce stigma by raising awareness of the plight of parents of addicted youth
  2. Understand that we have a duty to protect addicted youth by eliminating the barriers to treatment
  3. Recognition that if we are unwilling to provide medical interventions to treat, reduce harms and protect, we will be providing legal interventions to punish and otherwise maximizing harms.


Public Fatality Inquiry Report to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, The Honourable Judge Lloyd W Robertson into the death of MHC, 17 of Calgary, Alberta (2017)

Investigative Review: Into Focus – Youth Opioid Use in Alberta, The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, Alberta (2018)

Schneider, Richard D. (2015) The Mentally Ill: How They Became Enmeshed in the Criminal Justice System and How We Might Get Them Out. Department of Justice Canada.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Best Interests of the Child: Meaning and Application in Canada (2009)

The Final Report of The Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions (Ontario), 2010, at p.14-18 (Recommendations 21 and 22)

Open Minds, Healthy Minds, Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (2011) at p. 25

Czukar, Gail, Dykeman Dewhirst O’Brien LLP, Mental Health Law in Ontario: An Overview Final Report (June 15, 2013)

Sawyer, Susan M., Azzopardi, Peter S., Wickremarathne, Dakshitha, Patton, George C., The Age of Adolescence, The Lancet Child and Adolescence (March 1, 2018), Vol. 2, Issue 3, pp. 223-228,

Tara Marie Watson, Carol Strike, Gillian Kolla, Rebecca Penn & Ahmed M. Bayoumi (2015) Drugs don’t have age limits: The challenge of setting age restrictions for supervised injection facilities, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 22:4, 370379, DOI: 10.3109/09687637.2015.1034239

Ineke, Pruin and Dünkel, Frieder (2015), Better In Europe? European Responses to Young Adult Offending

McQuaid, R.J., Malik, A., Moussouni, K., Baydack, N., Stargardter, M., & Morrisey, M. (2017). Life in Recovery from Addiction in Canada. Ottawa, Ont.: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (2018) Strategies to Strengthen Recovery in British Columbia, A Path Forward

Levy, Neil, Addiction, Autonomy, and Informed Consent: On and Off the Garden Path, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 41: 56–73, 2016. DOI: 10.1093/jmp/jhv033


Angie Hamilton is a retired lawyer. She graduated from McGill University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B). After being called to the Ontario Bar in 1986 she practiced in the area of Tax and Estate Planning for 11 years at Goodman and Carr, LLP and then started her own practice in 1997. She retired from law in 2003 to devote more time to her family. She is a member or the National Board of MADD Canada and the Chair of MADD Canada’s Public Policy Committee. In 2016 Angie founded Families for Addiction Recovery (FAR) with other parents whose children have struggled with addiction from an early age. FAR is a Canadian registered charity.

Angie is also a member of the Community Dialogue Steering Committee established by Toronto Public Health as part of the Toronto Overdose Action Plan. The mandate of the committee is to develop a community dialogue process in Toronto on what a public health approach to drug policy should look like for Canada. Through lived experience with one of her son’s struggles with addiction, Angie has developed a passion for supporting other families struggling with addiction, compassion for those in active addiction and an immense respect for those living in recovery.

Recovery Capital Conference – Toronto 

September 13th and 14th, 2018

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 Recovery Capital Conference of Canada – Toronto Conference Centre