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.



Jermaine L. Swafford Named CSX Vice President Regional Transportation-Southern Region

Jermaine Swafford, a native of Hamilton County, has risen through the operations ranks at CSX since he joined the company in 1998.  From an assistant trainmaster in Russell, Ky., to his most recent position as division manager in Atlanta, Mr. Swafford has consistently demonstrated team-focused and results-driven management, according to the company officials.   "Under ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Business Calendar For Feb. 28-March 6

March 2015   SA/28 24Hour Generator at Mad, Bad, and Dangerous 3:00 p.m. Girls Preparatory School: 205 Island Ave. 24Hour Generator is a new event designed for enterprising high school girls across the region. Hosted by The Company Lab (CO.LAB) and held as part of GPS’s inaugural  Mad, Bad, and Dangerous  event, 24Hour Generator ... (click for more)

Deputy Beaten After Vehicle Crashes In His Yard Sues Officers

A man who was mistakenly beaten by officers who had been pursuing a pickup truck that crashed into his home has sued Hamilton County and the officers for $700,000. Aaron Lucas Shelton and his wife, Heather Nicole Shelton, filed the suit in Circuit Court. Aaron Shelton is himself a deputy sheriff. It names Curtis Brian Killingsworth and unknown officers who allegedly took part ... (click for more)

Signal Council, Residents Concerned About Unsafe Driving En Route To Schools

The town council of Signal Mountain is dealing with a traffic problem caused by increased traffic to and from Signal Mountain Middle High School and Nolan Elementary. Mayor Dick Gee said, “This is a tough issue that we wouldn’t have to deal with if everyone would drive responsibly.” The main concern is for safety and in November the council agreed to try to fix the problem by ... (click for more)

Net Neutrality: The Beginning Of The End Or Just A New Beginning?

“The Internet is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” says Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, “Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously suggested.”  The FCC’s vote for so-called Net Neutrality purports to allow the agency to regulate the Internet as a public utility.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden On March 1

As I try to do at the beginning of each month, I stroll through my garden to see the good and the bad. This morning there is still a solid covering of snow but, as usual, there is still a lot to see. March is historically known for “coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb” so let’s see who gets what: A LAMB to the fact 90-year-old Floyd Hartwig of Easton, Calif., and his ... (click for more)