Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cox Embraces Drug Court Model

As a family therapist, I regularly witness the devastating impact of drug and alcohol abuse. There is no question that drugs destroy individuals and families. There is no "easy button" for solving the drug problem, but in a policy statement released today, Cathy Cox makes it clear that she intends to support an aggressive effort to stem the tide of lives lost to drug addiction. Here's what she had to say:

Cox will renew the fight against methamphetamine and other drugs by creating a Cabinet-level Drug Czar to coordinate the currently disjointed efforts of dozens of state agencies. She also proposed expanding the role of drug courts, which have a proven record of reducing the rate of recidivism for non-violent offenders.

Having served on the committee overseeing the Drug Court Program in Bibb County, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of these programs. Generally, these programs are available to only first time offenders and mandate treatment, frequent testing and education over the course of a year or more, and the charges are held until the person either completes or fails to complete the program. If the person is successful, then the charges are dismissed. If the person is not successful, then he or she is prosecuted. The carrot and stick approach produces phenomenal results, including a very low recidivism rate.

In her characteristic, innovative style, Cathy is looking at a tough problem through a "can-do" lens and embracing proven strategies instead of sound bite ready phrases. Excellent work.

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