Woman Given Chance After Heroin Conviction

Chance After Heroin Conviction


The Globe and Mail

Toronto, Friday, February 11, 1972

A 29-year-old woman who admitted possessing heroin, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of seven years in penitentiary, was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for two years by Judge William Lyon yesterday.

Judge Lyon said he felt that Cecile Joan Vincent, a Cowan Avenue housekeeper, should be given a chance.

Philip George McAinley, Canadian director of Narcanon, told defence counsel Kevin Jones that Miss Vincent, a non-treaty Indian, is willing to enrol in the program.

Mr. McAinley said Narcanon assigns counsellors to addicts for 24 hours a day if necessary. The project, begun in the Arizona state penitentiary by a former heroin addict, has been operating in Canada for a year.

Last year, Narcanon was 70 percent successful with the 40 drug users it treated, Mr. McAinley testified.

Narcanon works with the welfare department, the police and the Queen Street Mental Health Center, which has sent it cases, Mr. McAinley said.

Crown counsel David Scott said Miss Vincent, who had pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing seven capsules of heroin, had one previous conviction involving narcotics.

“Her other record is only to be expected. We have a debt to people of her race.” Mr. Scott said.

He said he was impressed with the Narcanon program because it doesn’t use methadone or any other drugs in treating narcotic addicts.

Judge Lyon said he knew of no programs in provincial institutions for female drug addicts. He said Miss Vincent has had no convictions of any kind since 1967.

He said Miss must continue to work and further her education. He directed that she attend a narcotic rehabilitation program approved by her probation officer.

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