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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Russell County Drug Court Graduates Three

            LEBANON, VIRGINIA -- United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy addressed drug court program graduates today at a 29th Judicial Circuit ceremony in Lebanon, Va. With the Honorable Michael L. Moore presiding, three graduates celebrated sobriety and completion of the minimum 12-month month-long program of intensive supervision involving curfews, random drug screens, performing community service, attending several treatment and support groups each week and weekly court appearances. Members of the General Assembly in attendance also addressed the graduates, who spoke of the challenges they face in conquering addiction.

            “The Department of Justice invests heavily in the drug court model across the country, but particularly here in Virginia,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “The Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded only nine drug court grant applications in 2012, totaling over $5 million. Virginia received $1.5 million of the total funding to support these critical, evidence-based crime preventing tools.”

“Many Virginia communities have embraced drug treatment courts.  These specialized programs that are run and staffed by caring professionals can work,” said Secretary Decker. “They can foster change in the lives of those who are addicted to drugs and assist these offenders to turn their lives around and become productive members of society.  Drug courts work when everyone involved is committed to their success.  Offenders, families, friends, employers, communities and all of the professional and volunteer staff involved must be dedicated to working toward a positive outcome for the participants.  Russell County is a shining example of a new drug treatment court that has a great prospect for success.”

            Commonwealth's Attorney Brian Patton stated, "the Russell County Adult Drug Treatment Court is making a positive difference in all of the participants' lives, and this means our community is getting stronger and more resistant to the prescription drug epidemic that is plaguing our county.”

The Russell County Drug Court program began in 2010.  A Drug Court Team comprised of Judge Moore, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Russell County, defense attorneys, probation officials, the Sheriff, Chief of Police and Cumberland Mountain Community Services serve as a support mechanism and administrative oversight.

            Drug treatment courts are an alternative to traditional court adjudication of drug offenders.  By requiring selected defendants to undergo extensive counseling, alcohol and drug treatment, and random testing, cemented by rigorous accountability standards, Drug Courts treat the root causes of a select group of non-violent, criminal justice involved citizens: addicts.

Drug Courts are proven to reduce recidivism, promote public safety, and lower costs for taxpayers.   A recent National Center for Drug Courts study on Virginia’s system concluded that the average savings per offender is over $19,000.

 “The effectiveness of adult Drug Courts is not a matter of conjecture.  It is the result of more than two decades of exhaustive scientific research.”  (National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Research Update on Adult Drug Courts, December 2010, Douglas B. Marlowe, Chief of Science, Law and Policy)

            The Virginia General Assembly adopted the Drug Treatment Court Act in 2004.  The Virginia Supreme Court has administrative oversight for drug courts.  There are currently 36 operating drug courts in the Commonwealth.

Updated April 14, 2015