Calgary Drug Treatment Court Celebrates 15th Anniversary


*We are sharing this release on behalf of the Calgary Drug Treatment Court.

The Calgary Drug Treatment Court (CDTC) is proud to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

The CDTC was created in 2007 and is a pre-sentence justice alternative for people facing charges motivated by active addiction. This evidence-based program integrates court intervention and treatment services, including medical, social and mental health supports to help change habits and behaviors associated with active substance abuse and crime.

“Our goal is for participants to have a better life without crime or active addiction,” said Arla Liska, executive director of Calgary Drug Treatment Court. “Our intensive five-step program provides targeted treatment, assistance with physical, psychosocial and behavioral health needs, supports to obtain employment or education, and transition to community. By providing the right type and intensity of services, we see participants transforming their lives – reconnecting with family and children, maintaining employment, giving back to their community, and ending the chaotic cycle of active addiction, crime and of the incarceration that has tormented their lives. ”

The CDTC has many similarities to traditional courts, however, there are some defining differences.

“The role of the drug treatment court judge is as unique as the court itself,” said Associate Chief Justice Joanne Durant of the Provincial Court of Alberta. “Unlike other courts, we know our participants incredibly well during their time in the program. We celebrate every success with them and keenly feel every challenge and setback. There are many changes our participants need to make in order to achieve their goals for a better life – and they work incredibly hard to make those changes happen. Upon graduation, the person who comes before us for sentencing is virtually unrecognizable as the same person who had pleaded guilty months before. It is a place where miracles happen. It is truly an honor to be able to preside over the Drug Treatment Court and to share the remarkable journey of each of the participants.

CDTC works closely with many community organizations to provide participants with the services and resources they need to achieve their goals and complete the program. The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is one such partner and believes CDTC’s efforts help reduce crime in our community and improve the lives of citizens.

“We are a proud member of the CDTC team and are motivated every day by participants’ diligence in making changes in their lives as they confront their active addiction and invest in themselves to find a better way forward. said Inspector Jeff MacQueen of the Calgary Police Department’s Community Services Section. “Diverting the criminal behaviors associated with active addition not only impacts the lives of participants, but also positively impacts our community. We are grateful for our partnership with CDTC and their contribution to reducing the crime while providing a safe place where people can take control of their lives and break free from the cycle of crime and active addiction.

At the heart of the CDTC program are participants who make monumental life changes and achieve their goals to leave active addiction in their past.

One graduate credits CDTC with having “literally walked through every aspect of my life to relearn how to live. I recovered. I learned to love and respect myself and take good care of my family.

Another graduate said, “I was the first person in the Calgary program to be able to stay home, work at my job and do the treatment. Drug court taught me to manage my life responsibly, not to lose control of decisions but to think about them. I am very involved in the lives of my children and my wife stayed with me. I’m also very involved in drug court.

The CDTC is happy to celebrate its 15th anniversary and proud to continue to support people in our city facing active addiction. New participants are welcomed regularly. For more information on who can participate please visit the CDTC website.

If you’re unsure if you or someone you know would qualify for the program, check out CDTC’s full list FAQs.

To learn more about the success and results of the CDTC program, please see the CDTC Recidivism Study, which consists of 87 participants who graduated from the CDTC program between April 2010 and June 2019.

Video footage of the hearing room and the CDTC office is available to the media upon request. Please call the CPS media line to make your request.

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