Drug Court Could Provide an Alternative to Some in Calgary

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Even as our society, our government, and our medical community work towards a more liberal view of recreational drugs and a better understanding of addiction as a health problem, Calgary continues to see a large number of arrests and charges every year for drug-related crimes, including simple drug possession. Many of those arrested may suffer from drug dependency issues, and both they and their community would be far better served by medical and social support than by jail time.

Fortunately, a program in Calgary is working to change things. Instead of sending those suffering from drug addictions to jail the Calgary Drug Treatment Court is diverting program participants into probation, with ongoing support and weekly Court check-ins to ensure they're staying on the right path.

Instead of having a drug-related conviction being a life sentence, disrupting employment opportunities, family life, and denying an appropriate environment for overcoming the serious psychological and medical issue of addiction, those who successfully complete the Drug Treatment Court program have a new opportunity at a better way forward. Through mentoring and training, they are supplied with the skills and tools they need to make their new future a reality.

I hope to see the Calgary Drug Treatment Court expanding, and to see other court systems throughout Alberta and Canada adopting similar models. One day, we can hopefully move drug-related problems out of the criminal justice realm altogether; until then, it's nice that Calgary has another option.

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