Addressing graduates of Logan County's Drug Court, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) Friday lauded the State's drug court programs in the fight against the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
"Successful drug court programs can strengthen our communities by reducing incarceration and recidivism and providing substance abuse treatment to nonviolent offenders who need and can benefit from it most," said Rahall. "We need a multi-prong strategy in waging a successful battle against the epidemic of drug abuse and clearly the continued funding of drug courts must be a key component of that strategy."
Drug courts provide nonviolent substance abuse offenders with the voluntary option of mandatory drug testing and substance-abuse treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Judges and court personnel monitor and supervise participants' compliance, and can impose sanctions if participants fail to complete the program.
According to research reported by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, for every dollar invested in drug courts, taxpayers save as much as $3.36 in avoided criminal justice costs alone. Seventy-five percent of Drug Court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program, and family reunification rates are 50 percent higher for Family Drug Court participants.
"What you have accomplished today builds on our tomorrows," said Rahall, praising the Logan graduates. "Our communities, our state, and our nation need each of us and all of us pulling together and working together. With the hard work, dedication, and efforts of our law enforcement, and judiciary -- who are the bedrock that keeps our communities safe and strong -- to the doctors, nurses, teachers, preachers and community workers, who are working endless hours, there is hope and opportunity to break the devastating cycle of drug abuse, addiction, and crime that is affecting too many of our communities."
As co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, Rahall is working closely with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to bring federal resources to West Virginia for law enforcement training and support to deal with the issue of substance abuse. Most recently, Rahall contacted the Appropriations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives to convey the importance of drug courts in southern West Virginia and advocate for additional funding.