6 Counties Selected For Drug Court Pilot Project

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Six counties have been chosen to participate in a pilot project giving drug court judges access to information in the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database.  The purpose of the project is to give judges the information needed to help ensure participants in drug court treatment programs are successful.

The pilot project is the result of legislation sponsored by Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) and Representative Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville), which was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year. The legislation authorized the Commissioner of Health to select three judicial districts to conduct the program for a two-year period.  This week, Commissioner John Dreyzehner selected the second, fourth, and 11th districts to participate.

“This program is designed to give judges more tools in their tool box to assist those persons who suffer from addiction and who are in drug court treatment programs,” said Senator Overbey.  “Currently, information contained in the database is confidential, blocking judges from important information that could lead to more successful outcomes.”

The counties included in the project are Sullivan, Sevier, Cocke, Jefferson, Grainger and Hamilton.  To ensure the privacy and confidentiality of patient records, information obtained from the database by a drug court treatment program must be retained by the program director. 

“Addiction is the largest driving factor for crime in Tennessee and effective treatment is key to reducing drug-related offenses,” said Rep. Farmer.  “We are very pleased that this program is now underway and believe it has the potential to help many drug court treatment participants.  It is important that our judges have all the information available to them to ensure the success of their treatment program.”

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 80 percent of offenders in prison are there in large part because of substance abuse.  Approximately 60 to 80 percent of drug abusers commit a new crime, which is typically drug-related, after release from prison.  The National Association of Drug Court Professionals statistics show that 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving a court drug treatment program.

The judicial drug court districts selected for Tennessee’s pilot program represent rural, semi-urban and urban areas.  If successful, Senator Overbey and Rep. Farmer believe the pilot program could be extended statewide.



Last Chattanooga Downtown Shoe Shop Closing

Kenton Shoe Shop at 802 Broad Street is closing. The owner, Reginald Cousin, 73, said the building has been purchased, and "he doesn't want to move again." Mr. Cousin said he's "nervous about retiring" because he likes to keep busy...but he said he does have a few things in mind for the future. He said his nephew is buying his well-worn, well-loved equipment and is going ... (click for more)

Business After Hours And Ridgeland High School Artists Reception Will Be May 12

The Walker County Chamber will host the Business After Hours and the Ridgeland High School Artists Reception – Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America celebrates the connection between Amercians and sports in our heritage. The event will be at the 6th Cavalry Museum on May 12, from 4-6 p.m. Hometown Teams captures the stories that unfold on the neighborhood fields and courts, ... (click for more)

Dewayne Ray Burns Wanted After Firing Shots At Fort Oglethorpe Police Officers

Dewayne Ray Burns is wanted after police in North Georgia were led on a chase, and he fired shots at officers. Burns fired shots in their direction late Thursday night. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department are investigating the incident. According to park rangers on the scene, the Burns ran away, while firing shots in the direction ... (click for more)

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson Hospitalized; 2 Cleveland Police Officers Injured After Altercation With Man With History Of Assaults

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson and two Cleveland Police officers were injured Thursday while intervening in a domestic assault in progress. While driving on 25 th St. N.W. Sheriff Watson witnessed the assault, it was stated. When the sheriff tried to intervene, the man involved in the assault attacked him. During the scuffle the man struck Sheriff Watson numerous times, ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cancer Is Not A Battle

I read a marvelous essay not long ago where the author urged, “Stop telling the lie that cancer is a battle … a battle implies a fair fight, and there was nothing fair about my cancer or the cancer that took the life of my friend. Those experiences were about as fair as getting hit by a car – and nobody says people lose their battles with automobiles.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, ... (click for more)