Monday, January 11, 2010

The Richmond Register - Local courts to host pilot misdemeanor Drug Court Program ...

Published: January 09, 2010 03:37 pm

Local courts to host pilot misdemeanor drug court program

Special to the Register

Madison and Clark district courts will host a pilot program to treat drug addiction, the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts announced Wednesday.

Madison District Judge Earl-Ray Neal will oversee a Drug Court program for misdemeanor offenders in the 25th Judicial District, which covers Madison and Clark counties.

Neal is volunteering his time to conduct the biweekly Drug Court sessions, and credited judges Brandy O. Brown and Charles Hardin for their help with the program.

“Drug Courts in Madison and Clark counties at the juvenile and felony court level have been a shining example of Kentucky’s success in specialty courts,” Neal said. “This expansion will allow us to reach a greater number of people and to reach them earlier in their addiction.”

Madison Circuit Judge Jean C. Logue presides over the felony Drug Court for Madison and Clark counties, and credited Neal with helping to bring the program to the district court level.

“This program will work in conjunction with the felony Drug Court program to reach people earlier before their drug addiction problems lead them to commit serious crimes,” Logue said.

“The new misdemeanor Drug Court will provide our community with a positive tool to address the ever growing drug problem. I look forward to working with Judge Neal in expanding and improving our Drug Court program,” Logue said.

Madison County Attorney Marc Robbins said he believes the program will serve the needs of people suffering from drug addiction.

“I am very pleased that a misdemeanor Drug Court program will soon be operational in our district,” Robbins said. “This should allow us to reach offenders whose conduct has not risen to the felony level, but who still suffer from serious addictions.”

Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas is similarly excited about the program.

“I am excited about the implementation of a misdemeanor drug court which can be utilized to assist in helping those who suffer from addiction to illegal drugs and prescription medication break that cycle and get assistance,” Thomas said. “This program will be another weapon in the arsenal against drug use and drug abuse and will allow us to intervene at a district court level to provide accountability, treatment and hope to those who suffer from this addiction.”

Neal will conduct Drug Court meetings in both Richmond and Winchester, and the program will begin accepting referrals this month. The program is being funded by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Administration.

Audrey Posvic, who serves as coordinator for felony Drug Court in Madison and Clark counties, also will coordinate the misdemeanor program.

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