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4 Crim. L.Q. 274 (1961-1962)
History of the Opium and Narcotic Drug Legislation in Canada

handle is hein.journals/clwqrty4 and id is 288 raw text is: History of the Opium and Narcotic
Drug Legislation in Canada
G. E. Trasov*
For fifty years Canada has tried in vain to control the
problem of addiction through the Opium and Narcotic Act,
the basic means adopted being prohibition and police sup-
pression. Moreover, the punitive features of the Act have
become progressively more severe. However, disastrous con-
sequences are steadily becoming more apparent as narcotic
arrests rise each year to a new level both in the older and
younger age groups.
Why is its accent on the punitive rather than curative, on
prohibition and police suppression rather than prevention?
The answer may lie basically in the historical background of
the Opium Act, the forerunner of the Opium and Narcotic
Drug Act(a).
Drug addiction has been known in North America for
For biographical note, see Vol. 2, p. 334. Further to that note, we are
informed that Mr. Trasov has taken up legal studies full time and is now
in his final year at the University of British Columbia Law School.
(a) This article was written prior to the passing of the Narcotic Control Act,
1960-61 (Can.) c. 35, assented to June 22nd, 1961, and proclaimed in
force, except for ss. 15-19, September 15th, 1961. The legislation referred
to by the author, The Opium and Narcotic Drug Act, R.S.C. 1952, c. 201,
is now repealed.
The new legislation is basically along the same lines as previous legislation,
with the following matters being of some interest from the point of view
of this article:
PART I-Offences and Enforcement. Under s. 4, trafficking violators are
liable to imprisonment for life.
PART ll-Preventive Detention and Custody for Treatment. This is a
provision whereby institutions may be set up under the authority of the
Penitentiary Act for the committal of addicts for custody and treatment.
The new statute provides (ss, 15, 17, 18) that addicts charged with
possession, trafficking or importing may be committed for an indefinite
period subject to the provisions of the Parole Act. The Act also contem-
plates (s. 19) that the provinces may pass collateral legislation.

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