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2008 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Toronto mayor declares Drug Treatment Court Day in honour of CAMH program anniversary

Recognizing its pioneering approach to addiction treatment, Toronto Mayor David Miller officially declared Monday, Dec. 1st 2008 “Drug Treatment Court Day” in honour of the CAMH program’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

More detail on this event, including news of a special announcement, will follow soon on CAMH.net.

Established in 1998, Canada’s first drug treatment court is a partnership between CAMH, the Ontario Court of Justice and the federal Department of Justice. Based on a harm reduction approach to treating the underlying causes of addiction, drug treatment courts have spread across Canada in the 10 years since CAMH helped pioneer them.

(L-R) Paulette Walker, Toronto Drug Treatment Court alum and newly-hired peer support worker, with Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley; Superintendent Michael Farrar, Toronto Police Services; Shannon Coote, DTC Manager; and Mr. Justice Paul Bentley, whose vision established the program.

The TDTC is a voluntary program consisting of judicial supervision, substance abuse treatment, random and frequent drug testing and community social services support. Participants are non-violent offenders whose criminal behaviour is directly linked to their need to support an addiction to cocaine, crack or opiates.

The city’s proclamation recognizes “a growing consensus without our community that incarcerating non-violent drug addicted offenders has not proven to be an effective remedy.”

“There are now eight Drug Treatment Courts in Canada, as well as many more in the United States, Europe, South America and the Caribbean. Canada’s first court opened in Toronto on December 1, 1998.”

It concludes, “The establishment of these Courts constituted a substantial and beneficial shift in the attitude of our communities to drug addiction.”

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