Keeping communities safe by investing in recovery

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, and Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, with organizational partners, participants and graduates of Alberta’s drug treatment courts, announced $20 million more to expand drug treatment courts.

This initiative will protect communities while assisting individuals to achieve recovery.

The funding will double access to treatment and recovery in the Calgary and Edmonton drug treatment courts. It will also fund new drug treatment courts in other parts of the province to protect additional communities from the cycle of drug-related crime.

“Our government strongly supports a firm criminal justice system to protect Alberta’s communities from drug-related crime, but we also believe that alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders can break the cycle of drug abuse, crime, imprisonment and repeat offences. By investing a further $20 million in drug treatment courts, our government will protect public safety by supporting recovery and access to treatment and mental health care to prevent future criminal activity.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“Our government’s approach to addiction is fair, firm and compassionate. Drug treatment courts are an integral part of that system. Every Albertan deserves an opportunity to enter into recovery, and this will ensure that more Albertans have that chance.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“The success of every person entering our drug treatment court programs is one of our top priorities. These courts provide them the opportunity to deal with their addiction and the issues that led them into addiction and the criminal lifestyle associated with that. In turn, they become part of the solution in stopping the cycle of addiction and crime by becoming healthy, contributing members of society and impacting their families so that future generations can also have success.”

Grace Froese, manager, Edmonton Drug Treatment Court

“Twelve years ago, I was facing a three-year jail sentence due to crimes I was committing to feed my addiction to crystal meth. Today, I am abstinent, living in recovery and employed as a peer support worker with the drug treatment court and Alberta Health Services. The drug treatment court made it possible for me to break the cycle of poverty and addiction, provide a healthy sober home for my four children, deal with the intergenerational trauma and reconnect with my culture.”

Pamela Spurvey, graduate, Edmonton Drug Treatment Court

“As executive director of the Adeara Recovery Centre for Women, I see first-hand everyday how drug courts change lives. This critical investment will reinforce this government’s commitment to recovery and helps to keep communities and families safe.”

Lori Patrick, executive director, Adeara Recovery Centre for Women

“The Poundmaker’s Lodge offers Indigenous holistic treatment that focuses on the root causes of addiction and empowers people in their recovery from addiction. Countless drug court participants have come through our doors and returned to a healthy productive life. We are encouraged to see these investments at such a critical time.”

Brad Cardinal, executive director, Poundmaker’s Lodge

“Edmonton Police Service fully supports this investment in mental health and addictions treatment. The funding will aid citizens at risk, and reduce the use of our criminal justice system when dealing with public health problems.”

Chief Dale McFee, Edmonton Police Service

“Enforcement alone won’t solve the challenges we are currently facing with the addiction crisis in our communities. We require collective solutions with a focus on restorative justice frameworks to truly address the cause and impact of addictions in our communities. Drugs don’t discriminate and neither do the problems that come with them.”

Acting Deputy Cliff O’Brien, Bureau of Community Support, Calgary Police Service

Quick facts

  • The funding will double the annual capacity of the Edmonton and Calgary drug treatment court programs from about 40 participants to 80.
  • Potential drug treatment court locations outside of Edmonton and Calgary are currently under consideration.
  • The program is intended for those who have committed non-violent offences and includes judicial supervision, drug abuse treatment, frequent drug testing, incentives, sanctions and social services support.