One of Canada's western provinces, Alberta, is poised to introduce the Compassionate Intervention Act that would allow the province to operate drug courts outside the criminal justice system. Police officers would refer people to these courts for addiction intervention and treatment.
Close relatives or officials (doctors, nurses, child protection officers, and police officers) would be able to petition for a mandatory treatment order. These quick petitions could be made if it is believed that the addicted individual is a danger to themselves or to others. The judge involved would then be able to order a treatment plan.
Alberta believes that this is the most compassionate way to try to address the addiction crisis. Officials note that the 'Harm Reduction' approach has not been able to stem the tide of people slowly killing themselves on the street, and Alberta has decided to try a different approach.
It is important to note that the drug courts proposed by Alberta are not the only part of this new approach. The province has been investing heavily in treatment centers throughout the province to support the path to recovery and to receive people who are ordered into treatment. Alberta's premier announced last week, for example, that that another $30 million 75-bed drug recovery facility was to be built in the province.