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.



World's Largest One-Day Simulcast Leadership Conference Returns To Cleveland

Leadercast, the world’s largest one-day leadership conference, will be broadcast live from Atlanta and simulcast to hundreds of locations around the world on May 6. This year marks the 16th year of the annual leadership conference and the fourth year that the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and People for Care and Learning will host the event at First Baptist Church.   ... (click for more)

BEST/MATRR Officials Say "TVA Wastes Their Time And Our Money"

TVA Wastes Their Time and Our Money Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team/Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation, a chapter of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, presented a report on Friday showing TVA’s "waste of money on nuclear power."   The group called for a withdrawal of the operating license for Bellefonte nuclear power plant in Hollywood, Ala.  ... (click for more)

Firefighters Stop Fire At Local IHOP Restaurant

Chattanooga firefighters did not have far to go when fire broke out at the IHOP on Highway 153 in Hixson around  9 a.m.  on Friday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman and firefighters with Quint 16 had just enjoyed a nice breakfast there while having a morning staff meeting. When the firefighters returned to their fire truck and were getting ready to drive off, one of the firefighters ... (click for more)

City Councilman Chris Anderson Gearing Up For Election A Year Away

City Councilman Chris Anderson is already gearing up for the next city election, though it is over a year away. In the financial disclosures due Feb. 1, he reported receiving $24,165 for the reporting period from July 16, 2015 to Jan. 16, 2016. He spent $4,887 during that period. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem took in $11,110 during the period. Councilman Russell Gilbert reported ... (click for more)

Black History Month Hero - Theodore McGraw (Kidd) AKA "Pongee"

I grew up in "Old St. Elmo" on 39th Street behind the Incline. As a child I remember my older brother "Pongee" as being my hero. This month of February being Black History Month, I cannot think of a better person to be honored than my late older brother, Theodore McGraw (Kidd) aka "Pongee" of St. Elmo (Gamble Town). Growing up without my father, Theodore was always available ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Chatt2.org’ Needs You Now

A diverse yet powerful panel of community leaders in Nashville delivered a letter to the Metro Nashville Board of Education last week. It was signed by some top men and women who represent a wide-ranking cross section of Tennessee’s largest city and includes education, business, religious and diversity superstars. You need to understand the urgency behind the letter. Davidson County ... (click for more)