Fighting addiction and related crime in Grande Prairie

Drug treatment courts help break the cycle of addiction-motivated crime by giving non-violent offenders access to judicially supervised treatment and recovery. Treatment is supplemented by frequent drug testing, sanctions, incentives and social services support.

“While it’s important for criminals to face consequences for their actions, punishment alone will not change the behaviour of those committing crimes to support their addictions. Expanding drug treatment courts to communities like Grande Prairie helps even more people struggling with addictions get their lives back on track and prevent addiction-related crime in our communities.”Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“As part of Alberta’s recovery-oriented system of care, drug treatment courts help people who have committed non-violent drug-related crimes to enter recovery. Drug courts do not absolve people of their criminal responsibility, their goal is to reduce recidivism and break the cycle of abuse by encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their actions. Grande Prairie will benefit from this program to support increased treatment and recovery from the illness of addiction.”Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Grande Prairie will be home to one of five new drug treatment courts established outside of Edmonton and Calgary as part of the Alberta government’s four-year investment of up to $20 million to expand the program.

“Grande Prairie is pleased to see the provincial investment of a local drug treatment court. Our residents know too well the devastating effects drugs have had on our community and the lives of their loved ones. This locally run program will provide another avenue for individuals to move into recovery. Given the success of drug treatment courts in other jurisdictions, we are confident we will see similar successes here and look forward to its implementation.”Jackie Clayton, mayor, City of Grande Prairie

“As the MLA, I have been advocating for the drug treatment court option for our community. I am delighted to see this become a reality in Grande Prairie to help those struggling with addiction find their path to recovery.”Tracy Allard, MLA for Grande Prairie

“This new drug treatment court will help provide those struggling with addiction with the proper support they need while ensuring that public safety remains a top priority. Providing an out and an opportunity to break the cycle of addiction-motivated crime is the vital first step for many on the hard road to recovery. As other jurisdictions have benefited from this type of treatment, I am optimistic and eager to see the positive impacts this new drug treatment court will have on our community.”Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board & Minister of Finance, and MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti

“In our judicial system, the fundamental purpose of sentencing is to protect society and for offenders to respect society by imposing sanctions which include denouncing certain behaviour and deterring certain conduct. The courts must therefore balance the harm done to the community and assist in rehabilitating non-violent repeat drug-dependent offenders. Drug treatment courts recognize that many individuals continue to reoffend due to underlying drug dependency. It no longer works to simply continue incarcerating these non-violent individuals without offering alternative programs, such as those offered by drug treatment courts, to help turn their lives around. A drug treatment court in Grande Prairie with the objective of crime reduction and rehabilitation will be a benefit to our region.”Assistant Chief Judge Dave Shynkar and Judge Morris Golden, Provincial Court of Alberta

“Many of our offenders and a substantial portion of crime in our community are motivated by addiction to drugs. A drug treatment court will greatly assist us in getting to the root of the problem, and by lifting people out of addiction, break the cycle of addiction and crime to feed it. In turn, this makes our community safer and reduces recidivism and crime rates, which are positive outcomes for all involved. I look forward to working within this court.”Steven Hinkley, QC, chief Crown prosecutor, Grande Prairie

“Before I started drug treatment court I was circling in the drain of addiction. I had lost my family, friends, home and any hope of ever being a normal productive person in society. Drug treatment court gave me hope, faith and most of all, my life. It saved me. This new drug court will see many more success stories like mine going forward.”Alana Lambert, 2019 graduate, Edmonton drug treatment court (attended the Grand Prairie Northern Addictions Treatment Centre as part of treatment)

“Drug treatment court allowed me the opportunity to be accountable, accountable for the negative effects of my actions as well as accountable to myself – mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Due to that support and structure, today I’m a contributing member of society who has been given tools to continue developing as a man in recovery.”Roberto Diaz, 2019 graduate, Edmonton drug treatment court (attended the Northern Addictions Treatment Centre in Grande Prairie as part of treatment)

“The expansion of a drug treatment court to the community of Grande Prairie will open doors for so many people who are involved in the drug and criminal lifestyle by offering them the opportunity to change their lives and those of their families. The rewards of my long-standing work with these courts continues to show that not only do they save lives and families, but they also create safer communities. It is an honour to work in partnership with the Grande Prairie community as they prepare to launch this life-changing program.”Grace Froese, director, provincial drug treatment court development, Edmonton John Howard Society

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