Tuesday, February 14, 2012


A 24 year-old drug addict who robbed poppy cans, amongst other crimes, was given a sentence of two years plus a day in the hopes that he might be able to avail of the drug rehabilitation programs offered by Corrections Canada.

Andrew Smith stole nearly a dozen poppy cans from various Tim Horton Coffee Shops St. John'sand Mount Pearl last November. He was also sentenced for a number of other criminal activities ranging from theft to unlawful entry.

Smith waved his right to time served to ensure he recieved federal time.

Three other people were charged with stealing poppy tins in the lead-up to Remembrance Day. The sickening thefts  sparked outrage.  The Poppy appeal is a very important fundraiser for the Royal Canadian Legion.

He took advantage of the goodwill of the local community and stole money which was intended to support men and women who have fought or served for their country. A despicable act, which was considered by Judge Greg Brown when he passed his sentence.

As much as I agree that the act was despicable, the reason for the crime is just as disturbing. The man was stealing to support a drug addiction. The scourge of drug addiction and the desperation that comes with scoring enough money for that next hit was played out in the shame of Smith's crimes.

Newfoundland has one of the highest rates of alcohol and drug addiction than anywhere else in Canada. Crimes motivated by drug addiction have increased over the past two few years.

With only one drug addiction treatment center available provincially it does not look like the problem will be getting better any time soon.

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