Sask. drug treatment court expanding to North Battleford

Matt Smith/Saskatoon StarPhoenix A drug treatment court is set to open in the fall of 2024 in North Battleford, expanding on a program with locations in Regina and Moose Jaw that has seen more than 140 participants graduate during the nearly two decades since its inception.

Drug treatment courts were previously established in Regina in 2006 and Moose Jaw in 2009.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix Staff

A third drug treatment court in Saskatchewan is set to open this fall, expanding on a program that has graduated more than 140 participants in the nearly two decades since its inception.

The court will expand to North Battleford later this year, the provincial government announced Thursday. According to the province, drug treatment courts “offer an alternative approach” to offenders dealing with addiction and facing drug-related and other charges. Drug courts offer programming that includes transition, stabilization and maintenance.

Saskatchewan has two existing drug treatment court programs. The Regina court, established in 2006, sits weekly and accepts around 20 participants each year. The Moose Jaw court, which sits twice a month and serves as many as seven participants at a time, opened in 2009.

“Drug court taught me how to live again, to stabilize from decades of chaos, addiction and criminal lifestyle,” said Susan Sebulsky, a 2014 graduate from the Regina treatment court.

“It taught me to believe in myself and I could accomplish anything. Drug court gave my family back their daughter, and it showed me how to be a responsible parent.”

Once participants have met graduation conditions — 200 hours of class time, treatment progress, at least three months without drugs and six months crime-free, involvement in drug-free social activities, employment or school attendance, and a long-term recovery plan — they are sentenced on the charges to which they pleaded guilty when they entered the program.

The drug treatment court program is set to receive around $1.7 million from the province, cost-shared equally with the federal government. This year, $240,000 will go toward the North Battleford expansion.

Premier Scott Moe, who travelled to North Battleford for Thursday’s announcement, said increasing treatment options and services “are priorities” for the provincial government.