Calgary, AB,

Calgary Drug Treatment Court Celebrates 15-year Anniversary

*We are sharing this release on behalf of the Calgary Drug Treatment Court. 

The Calgary Drug Treatment Court (CDTC) is proud to celebrate its 15-year anniversary.

The CDTC was established in 2007 and is a pre-sentence justice alternative for individuals facing charges driven by active addiction. This evidence-based program integrates court intervention and treatment services, including medical, social and mental health supports, to help change patterns and behaviours associated with active addiction and crime.

“Our goal is for participants to have a better life free from crime and active addiction,” said Arla Liska, Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Drug Treatment Court. “Our intensive five-stage program offers focused treatment, help to address physical, psycho-social and behavioural health needs, supports to obtain employment or education, and transition into the community. By providing the right type and intensity of services, we see participants transform their lives – reconnect with family and children, sustain employment, give back to their community, and end the chaotic cycle of active addiction, crime and incarceration that has plagued their lives.”

The CDTC has many similarities to traditional courts, however, there are some defining differences.

“The role of the Judge in the Drug Treatment Court is as unique as the court itself,” said Deputy Chief Judge Joanne Durant, Provincial Court of Alberta. “Unlike other courts, we come to know our participants incredibly well during their time in the program. We celebrate every success with them and keenly feel every challenge and set back. There are many changes that our participants need to make in order to achieve their goals for a better life – and they work incredibly hard to make those changes happen. By graduation, the person standing before us for sentencing is virtually unrecognizable as the same person who entered their guilty pleas many months before. It’s a place where miracles happen. It is truly an honour to be able to preside in the Drug Treatment Court and to share the remarkable journey of each and every participant.”

The CDTC works closely with many community agencies to provide participants with the services and resources they require to achieve their goals and complete the program. The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is one of those partners and believes the efforts of the CDTC help to reduce crime in our community and improve the lives of citizens. 

“We are a proud member of the CDTC team and are motivated every day by the diligence of the participants to make changes in their lives as they confront their active addiction and invest in themselves to find a better way forward,” said Inspector Jeff MacQueen of the Calgary Police Service Community Services Section. “Diversion of criminal behaviours associated with active addition not only has a life changing impact on participants, but also a positive impact on our community. We are grateful for our partnership with the CDTC and their contribution to reducing crime while providing a safe place for people to reclaim their lives and break free from the cycle of crime and active addiction.”

At the core of the CDTC program are the participants who make monumental life changes and accomplish their goals to leave active addiction in their past.

One graduate credits the CDTC for “literally going through every aspect of my life to learn how to live again. I got myself back. I learned how to love and respect myself and properly care for my family.”

Another grad said, “I was the first person in the Calgary program able to stay at home, work at my job and do the treatment. Drug court taught me how to manage my life responsibly, to not get out of control with decisions but to think them through. I’m heavily involved in my kids’ lives, and my wife has stuck with me. I’m also heavily involved in the drug court.”

The CDTC is pleased to celebrate their 15-year anniversary and proud to continue supporting individuals in our city facing active addition. New participants are welcomed on a regular basis. For more information regarding who can participate please visit the CDTC website.

If you are unsure if you or someone you know would qualify for the program, check out the CDTC’s comprehensive FAQ page.

To learn more about the success and outcomes of the CDTC program, please review the CDTC Recidivism Study, which consists of 87 participants who graduated from the CDTC program between April 2010 and June 2019.


Video footage of the CDTC courtroom and office is available for media by request. Please call the CPS Media Line to make your request.