People with mental illness and addiction are over‐represented across the criminal justice system, including in interactions with police, the courts and corrections system. Since 1998 the Toronto Drug Treatment Court (TDTC) has been committed to providing alternatives to prison for adults who face non-violent, criminal charges related to drug addiction. Participation in the program is voluntary.
This October, in a courtroom full of supporters and well-wishers, Alazar Abed celebrated his graduation from the TDTC program at CAMH. He started the program in September 2015 after several years in and out of jail, his struggle with addiction driving his behavior.
“A year ago I wrote myself a letter and said I would graduate. And now here I am,” Alazar said to the group that included staff from CAMH and John Howard Society, friends, supporters, and other CAMH clients currently working toward recovery in the program.
Justice Mary Hogan also congratulated Alazar on his hard work, praising his compassion and caring for others. “I’ll miss your high fives,” she said.