She says that although the program has a minimum requirement of one year, the average time participants spend is around 18 months as they work towards independence and full reintegration into the community. For this reason, she states that there are no graduates yet, but they expect to see their first participant graduation in May or June 2023.
Throughout the year, she confirmed that only one participant had changed his mind and dropped out of the program after enrolling for a week, reverting to normal legal proceedings. She says she does not know the fate of this individual.
CADTC officials say the drug treatment court has many similarities to traditional courts, with a few key differences. They say the CADTC program is made up of a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team of specially trained judges, federal and provincial crown attorneys, probation officers, RCMP and addictions services from the health services of Alberta supplied by the John Howard Society.
“Every member of the team plays an equal and valuable role,” McAllister-Hall said.
She says the team meets weekly to discuss participants’ obstacles and successes as program participants appear in court before the team and the judge to talk about their week.
“We have an amazing collaborative team dedicated to helping our participants change their lives. It is a unique experience for all participants. The entire team, including the judge, is invested in the success of our contestants,” said Associate Chief Judge Robin Snider. “It’s not just about sobriety. They work hard to improve all aspects of their lives and to maintain their long-term recovery and success. Over the course of several months, we watch our participants change and grow. It’s a journey full of ups and downs, but an incredibly rewarding experience for all of us.
“This program not only helps individual participants, but improves the community as a whole and keeps people out of our criminal justice system for the long term. I am extremely proud to be part of the drug treatment court team,” she said.
Officials say CADTC works closely with many community organizations to provide participants with the services and resources they need to achieve their goals and complete the program. However, they say the heart of the CADTC program are the participants who commit to the program and work incredibly hard to make monumental life changes and achieve their goals of leaving active addiction in their past.
The Central Alberta Drug Treatment Court team will hold an open house on Tuesday, November 15 and invite the public to join them in celebrating the past year. The event will take place from 2-4 p.m. at their downtown office (#150, 4828 53 St) also attended by the Mayor of the City of Red Deer, Ken Johnston.