Vancouver Drug Court celebrates 10 years of success

VANCOUVER – As the Drug Treatment Court of Vancouver (DTCV) marks a decade since it embarked on an innovative approach to dealing with drug-addicted offenders, a recent study shows the drug court is having significant success in reducing reoffending.

Simon Fraser University conducted an independent evaluation of the drug court’s alternative process for individuals who commit offences because they have a drug addiction. The study determined the DTCV reduced drug-related recidivism by 56 per cent over a two-year tracking period. It also determined that DTCV involvement decreases criminal offending of all kinds by 35 per cent.

In the 10 years since the court opened in December 2001, 196 offenders who had substance use disorders and were before the courts were redirected from the regular criminal justice system into treatment programs to address their addictions.

The DTCV is designed for individuals charged with offences motivated by drug addiction. People charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or the Criminal Code of Canada, and whose offences were motivated by addiction when they committed their crimes, are potentially eligible for DTCV.

Minister of Public Safety, Solicitor General and Attorney General Shirley Bond said, “As the Drug Treatment Court of Vancouver turns 10, it’s encouraging to know that its team approach – which includes courts, corrections, health, social development and police – is helping many offenders break the cycle of crime and addiction, in turn making Lower Mainland communities safer.”

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, QC, MP for Delta-Richmond East said, “Together with the Government of British Columbia, the Government of Canada is proud to support Vancouver’s Drug Treatment Court and pleased to see a very successful first 10-year run.”

“Drug treatment courts fulfill an important goal of Canada’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, which is to protect Canadians by providing access to treatment for those addicted to drugs.”