The Ottawa Citizen recently ran a series on the capital’s crack cocaine problem.
An article that ran on Saturday, June 19, 2010 as part of the series examined the city’s Drug Treatment Court that works to divert small-time drug offenders away from jail and into addiction treatment programs:
Offenders in Drug Treatment Court are always facing jail for the petty theft that feeds their habit. After a rigorous assessment, they are accepted into the program and begin treatment with Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services. First they are required to plead guilty to any charges they face.
Addicts in the program set to work on reducing their drug dependency and perhaps achieving one of two goals:
1. Clean living for six months: If they stay drug-free and take all required treatment and counselling, they’ll walk away with a graduation certificate, one day’s probation and, with any luck, a promising future.
2. Clean living for three months: Leave with a year’s probation. (Since staying away from drugs will be a condition of probation, this can be a trap for those likely to relapse.)
There are six Drug Treatment Courts in Canada — Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina. Each is more or less modelled on the first in North America which opened in Miami in 1989.