The Cape Breton Regional Municipality could make a strong argument for becoming home to a pilot drug court in Nova Scotia, police Chief Myles Burke says.

Burke raised the issue with the Cape Breton Post about trends in drug abuse in the region.

“I think if you look at the numbers, you look at the volume of charges going through the courts, the drug-related crime, drug-related activity, it all comes down to available resources and it would be great to see the courts have other options for treatment and programs available,” he said.

Burke said people seem to like hearing about enforcement efforts and seeing police execute search warrants as they tackle drug activity, which he noted is an important part of the fight. But he added there needs to be a balanced approach and prevention, education and treatment need to be considered.

In August, the province set up a special court in Dartmouth to divert some of the province’s mentally ill people away from the criminal justice system and into treatment programs. The person being tried must either admit to the crime before appearing in the mental health court or have been found guilty in a regular court and then referred.

Burke said a drug court could operate in much the same way. Drug courts have been established in other parts of the country.

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