In a surprise move, the Third Judicial Circuit Court Administration Office recently confirmed that drug court will be available in Hamilton County Juvenile Court beginning Dec. 1

"This was made possible by those in the community who helped provide places to meet and leadership for Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Counseling services that are now available in Hamilton County for Adult Drug Court provide counselors and resources here that were not available before," said Drug Court and Hamilton County Court Judge R.B. Davis.

"The fact that Meridian and Praxis and other individual mental health care and counseling services are making their services available here in the county means that anger management, batterer's intervention, marriage counseling, domestic violence and addiction counseling are now available conveniently and at less expense to those who need these services."

The rise in the use of these programs roughly coincides with the reduction in the crime rate. When the programs are properly administered and properly used, they change and save lives. By giving people the tools and coping mechanisms with which to deal with anger, disagreement and domestic violence the programs can help prevent crime. Successful crime prevention reduces the drain on government resources.

According to Judge Davis, beginning Juvenile Drug Court so quickly after the start of Adult Drug Court is a very pleasant surprise and is one of the additional collateral benefits that he hoped would flow from having drug court in Hamilton County. Since drug use is the cause of much of the criminal conduct here in the county, especially among juveniles, this gives the county a new, and effective, tool to help get kids off drugs.

"Changing People, Places and Things," is the basis of the year-long four-phase program. Close supervision coupled with intensive counseling will enable the court to help both the juveniles who are addicted to drugs and those parents whose addictions impact their families and affect their parenting. Whole families will benefit from both parents and children completing the program.

Juvenile Drug Court is more flexible than adult drug court, providing more opportunities for creative ways to help prevent problems with drug use in the county. Everyone will not qualify for the program and it is not a guaranteed solution for everyone addicted to drugs, but the program has been shown to have a very high success ratio. On average across the nation 87% of the people who successfully complete the course are still sober and drug free one year later.

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