There is no timeline for the Saskatoon drug treatment court 2 years later: Sask. government | The Canadian News

More than two years after the Saskatchewan government minister of justice committed to a drug treatment court in Saskatoon, there is still no timetable for its implementation.

A drug treatment court is a therapeutic alternative to the traditional legal system. It requires participants to plead guilty and undergo a process to address their addictions with the goal of keeping people out of incarceration. There is already a drug treatment court in Regina, but the province’s largest city does not have one.

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“In the early stages I was encouraged to learn that the government was starting to talk to community organizations (about a drug treatment court),” Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said in an interview.

“But I do think that with the pandemic, it has … stalled,” Clark said.

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Saskatoon will receive a drug treatment court: Sask. Justice minister

Saskatoon will receive a drug treatment court: Sask. Minister of Justice – October 15, 2019

The Mayor is one of the leaders behind 35 community organizations that launched the Safe Community Action Alliance. In October 2019, they issued four recommendations to curb what they called “the growing drug-related health and safety crisis” in Saskatoon.

The therapeutic court is one part of an approach that also includes increasing addiction treatment spaces and more coordinated outreach services.

Within days, then-Attorney General Don Morgan said a drug treatment court would be implemented “sooner rather than later” in Saskatoon.

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Saskatoon will receive a drug treatment court: Sask. Justice minister

In 2021, Saskatchewan is on track to set a new all-time record for drug overdoses. Meanwhile, Saskatoon doesn’t have the drug court that was promised.

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“It is a step that will be important to help address this, so we will continue to stress the importance of a drug treatment court as part of an overall strategy.”

In a statement this week, Justice Ministry spokesman Noel Busse confirmed that there is no scheduled date for the court’s launch yet.

“This work was delayed due to the need for the government and partner organizations to respond to the pandemic. We hope that discussions on this topic will resume in the near future, ”wrote Busse.

Global News requested an interview with current Justice Minister Gordon Wyant, but referred to Busse’s statement.

“Department of Justice and Attorney General officials have been working with the judiciary and the Saskatoon Community Safety and Well-being Partners group to determine the potential for a drug treatment court in Saskatoon,” he wrote.

There are currently 14 participants in the Regina drug treatment court. The maximum is 30 people, and referrals are possible for people in other cities, according to the ministry.

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A reference to Regina is not enough, according to the mayor of Saskatoon.

“We have two pandemics going on,” Clark said.

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The COVID-19 pandemic, according to the mayor, has illustrated an urgent need for systems to reduce the likelihood of people becoming addicted and incarcerated. Instead, he said they need better programs and treatments.

Clark said he plans to speak with the Saskatchewan attorney general about maintaining the prospect of a drug treatment court “front and center” of Saskatoon.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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