Kentucky Court of Justice
New Drug Court in Rowan County becomes operational
Individuals facing drug-related charges in Rowan County will now have access to a court designed specifically to address this issue.
"The Rowan County Drug Court became operational in late September with the acceptance of its first three participants," said Circuit Judge William B. Mains, who serves Bath, Menifee, Montgomery and Rowan counties, and is volunteering his time to conduct the weekly Drug Court sessions. "The mission of Drug Court is to help eligible participants break the negative cycle of addiction and related crime which burden the community and prevent drug and alcohol abusers from living productive lives."
"Drug Court is a shining example of Kentucky’s success in specialty courts," said Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert, who is a strong proponent of the program. "Instead of spending time in jail, Drug Court participants complete a rigorous substance abuse program supervised by a judge. The program lets individuals return to productive lives where they can maintain employment, pay child support and meet other family obligations."
"Since the first Drug Court was established in 1996 in Fayette County, the program has grown to 55 programs across the state, serving 78 counties," said Connie Payne, general manager for Kentucky Drug Court. "In its 10 years of operation, nearly 2,000 participants have graduated from the program."
Funds appropriated by the Kentucky General Assembly, the Governor’s Office and Operation UNITE (Unlawful Narcotics Investigation, Treatment and Education) provide personnel, drug testing supplies and treatment resources. Operation UNITE was launched in 2003 through the efforts of Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers. UNITE serves 29 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky, working to rid communities of illegal drug use through coordinating treatment for substance abusers, providing support to families and friends of substance abusers, and educating the public about the dangers of using drugs.
How Drug Court Works
Drug Court coordinates the efforts of the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social services and treatment communities to actively intervene and break the cycle of substance abuse, addiction and crime.
The program consists of three phases and aftercare, and lasts an average of one to two years. Drug Court staff and participants work together to develop individual program plans with specific responsibilities and goals with timetables. Plans include group, family and individual counseling; frequent and random urine testing; education and vocational training; scheduled payments of restitution, child support and court fees; and health and community activities. Participants report directly to their Drug Court judge, who rewards progress and sanctions noncompliance.
When participants successfully complete the program, charges may be dismissed through diversion or conditional discharge may be granted through probation. Judges who participate in Drug Court volunteer their time to the program and much of the program's funding comes from federal grants and state matching funds approved through the Kentucky General Assembly.
Kentucky Drug Court is administered through the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort. The AOC is the operational arm of the Kentucky Court of Justice and supports the activities of more than 3,500 court system employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.