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.



Holcombe Promoted To Manager Of Northwest Georgia Bank; Ringgold Branch

Northwest Georgia Bank announces Connie Holcombe has been promoted to assistant vice president-branch manager for their Main Office in Ringgold. “Connie’s knowledge of the Ringgold and North Georgia market, as well as her vast branch experience, will be instrumental as she takes on this important leadership position within our bank,” said Rich Balthrop, vice president of Retail ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Weekly Fuel Update And Outlook

Average retail gasoline prices in Chattanooga have fallen 6.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.24/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 170 gas outlets in Chattanooga. This compares with the national average that has fallen 5.5 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.65/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. Including the change in ... (click for more)

$40 Million Traffic Improvement Set To Connect Hamilton Place More Directly With I-75 And Ease Congestion On Shallowford Road

The city, state and CBL & Associates are cooperating on a $40 million plan to make the Hamilton Place section more accessible to Interstate 75. The upcoming project will provide a direct connection for southbound I-75 traffic with Hamilton Place Boulevard. The project will also provide a new connection for those on Hamilton Place Boulevard to enter I-75 northbound. ... (click for more)

Report Says Truck Driver Who Caused Wreck That Killed 6 People At Ooltewah Exceeded Allowable Driving Hours

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board on a June 25 wreck at the Ooltewah exit that killed six people says the driver of the truck that caused the multiple-vehicle wreck "had exceeded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation hours-of-service when the crash occurred." It says Benjamin Brewer began his return trip to London, Ky., from Florida at 4:30 ... (click for more)

Why Is The City Diverting Federal Transportation Funds From Real Need?

The city of Chattanooga and CBL, owner of Hamilton Place Mall, would have the mass of taxpayers believe that improving mall access from the interstate is not impacting us financially.   Namely, CBL has committed to fund the city’s match of $8 million, so they will receive $32 million in Federal Transportation Funds that are allocated annually to local jurisdictions through ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Hero Is Coming Home

In late September, a very special funeral will be held in Bearden, Tenn., when 1 st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr., will finally come home to lie in peace with his family. Sandy’s been dead for 72 years now, ever since he was killed in combat on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands on Nov. 22, 1943. He and a number of other Marine heroes were buried back then in a shallow ... (click for more)