Pubdate: Tue, 04 Jul 2006
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: R. Paul Welsh
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)


Re: Been there, done that, June 25.

Ottawa defence lawyer Gerry White has clearly earned the right to his opinions.

However, I would like to clarify the role and process of the Ottawa 
Drug Treatment Court (DTCO), referred to at the end of the article. 
Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services deliver the DTCO treatment 
program in partnership with the Ontario Court of Justice.

Numerous hours of assessment and treatment planning occur before the 
participant is ever released from custody. The accused must be 
addicted to drugs and demonstrate a desire to change. Treatment 
begins within 24 hours of release from custody. In some cases, 
participants are sent directly from jail to residential treatment.

DTCO participants are expected to abstain from all drugs -- including 
alcohol. They must attend treatment at least three times a week, 
appear in court twice a week and are subject to frequent supervised 
urine tests. They are required to attend Alcoholics 
Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings regularly. They are directed 
as to where they may reside and whom they may associate with.

To successfully complete the program, participants must have stable 
housing, be working or in school and they must be free of crime, 
drugs and alcohol.

The Elizabeth Fry and John Howard societies provide offender 
expertise and housing supports. The Somerset West Community Health 
Centre and the Canadian Mental Health Association provide specialized 
health care and mental health support.

Ottawa's Drug Treatment Court works well. We are seeing abstinence 
rates that are second to none in clients who had $300- to $500-a-day 
habits. There are many ways to affect addiction recovery. Most people 
need many resources applied simultaneously and repeatedly. DTCO 
applies every creative option our budgets allow -- and then some. It 
is a highly effective tool to reduce crime, misery and addiction's 
staggering $23 billion cost to Canada's economy.

R. Paul Welsh,


Executive director

Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services 
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman