Drug Treatment Court changes woman’s life
- Jeanelle Mandes | July 09, 2020
A Regina program changed the life of a woman with addiction. Pamela Acoose, 33, from the Zagime Anishinabek was looking at jail time a year ago for car theft but was given a choice. She could plead guilty and then take the Regina Drug Treatment Court (DTC).
After losing everything she had, it was a decision that Acoose wanted to make to better her life.
“I was doing things to provide for my drug habit,” she said. “I would steal cars and sell them to drug dealers and I would shoplift for drugs. I would do anything for my habit.”
It was a dark time in Acoose’s life. She was addicted to crystal meth for two years and had served time in jail.
“At that point, I lost my home, I lost my children and I lost my car. I lost everything,” said Acoose, the mother of six children. “I felt defeated at that point.”
DTC participants take an intensive treatment program with hundreds of hours in programming and counselling and must remain clean.
“Going into Regina DTC, it gave me hope that I could get my life back together again,” she said. “Half way into the program, I started to see shifts in my life. I no longer wanted to hang out with old using buddies. I was less angry because I started dealing with traumas that happened to me as a child and carried with me all these years. I started to heal from those.”
The Regina DTC has been running for 14 years and celebrated its 100th graduate on June 30. Acoose was one of them.
“It’s a milestone,” stated Judge Pat Reis in a media release. “To have four graduates, especially with the epidemic of drug abuse taking place in Regina, and with the COVID19 pandemic, is very encouraging to me.”
The DTC’s purpose is to break the cycle of addiction and crime by offering treatment, said Judge Cliff Toth, who helped start it and was the first to preside in it.
“Treatment courts address the major social issues that bring people before the courts – addiction,
mental illness and domestic violence – and offer treatment rather than incarceration,” Toth said.
Acoose is grateful that the treatment program has helped her in her life. She started to give back to the community by speaking to youth with addictions at the Regina General Youth Detox Centre. She is also working hard to get her children back. And the silver lining of the Regina Drug Treatment Court program is it was a stepping stone towards a career. Acoose was accepted into university for this fall to study social work.
“My hope is to work in the addiction field,” she said. “To help somebody like me would be so rewarding…DTC is a really rewarding program. We need more programs like this in Saskatchewan.”
The Regina Drug Treatment Court runs every Tuesday.