Toronto Drug Treatment Court Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary
January 15, 2004, TORONTO, ON - The Toronto Drug Treatment Court (TDTC), the TDTC Community Advisory Committee, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Justice Canada join together in celebrating the 5th year Anniversary of this innovative Canadian Program that has helped to turn the lives of many of Toronto's most "hard-core" drug users around.
"This program has worked where incarceration hasn't been effective. It has proven that it is possible to help those that had previously been believed to be beyond help, people who are chronic drug users that have traditionally been in and out of prison without any hope of ending the cycle " said Brian Parris, City of Toronto Area Health Officer and Co-Chair of the Toronto Drug Treatment Court's Community Advisory Committee.
The Toronto Drug Treatment Court (TDTC) is a voluntary program that provides court-supervised treatment, for people addicted to cocaine or heroin who have been charged with drug offenses involving those substances. Clients who complete the program receive a non-custodial sentence instead of the incarceration that they would normally be facing. The majority of clients have a long history of involvement with drugs and the criminal justice system.
The results of the ongoing evaluation indicate that the program is a promising form of intervention for a population with multiple, highly complex needs. There has been a noticeable decrease in drug use and re-offending amongst participants. The program consists of a combination of regular court appearances, judicially supervised treatment, and an extensive community based support network.
"Toronto Drug Treatment Court offers some of the most difficult-to-reach members of our society an opportunity to turn their lives around. Drug Treatment Courts must be seriously considered as part of a comprehensive National Drug Strategy," said Dr. Patrick Smith, Vice President of Clinical Programs at CAMH.
CAMH is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre and a teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
For further information, please contact:
The Honourable Justice Paul Bentley, Presiding Judge -TDTC 416-327-5907,
Kofi Barnes, Deputy Director - Strategic Initiatives - Justice Canada 416-973-1314,
Richard Coleman, Coordinator - Toronto Drug Treatment Court 416-535-8501 x 6331,
Sylvia Hagopian, CAMH Media Relations Coordinator, 416-595-6015.