Drug court supporters discuss possibilities

A number of agencies want to establish a drug court in Moffat County, but it may take a little more planning to make it a reality.

A drug court can be an offshoot of the legal system dealing solely with drug-related crimes.

Punishments can include jail time as sentenced by a judge, but often offenders can be sentenced to counseling and rehabilitation treatment.

Counselor Mike Flannery of White River Counseling said drug courts have a 70 percent success rate of offenders not re-offending in the first year. Flannery said he has worked as a counselor with drug courts across the nation. He spoke to members of the Communities Overcoming Meth Addictions, or COMA at their regular meeting Thursday.

"It can be a tremendous benefit to the community," he said.

A drug court can put cases on faster tracks than a traditional judicial system. They also can be operated without the presence of attorneys on both sides.

Flannery said that a drug court needs treatment options, such as counseling and rehabilitation to be successful. It also needs a nod from a judge.

Chief District Court Judge Michael O'Hara already has said that he's in favor of idea.

District Attorney Bonnie Roesink said O'Hara would not approve a separate judge for the duty of a drug court. But, he said he would commit a portion of a day from current dockets to deal with those cases, Roesink relayed.

Flannery said that he mainly counsels in a drug court in Glenwood Springs. He expects to get more work from a drug court that starts in Meeker in July.

"If they can do it with their limited resources, than so can we," said Parole Officer Shane Fuchs. "We can make this happen sooner than later."

Glenwood's drug court is in session a couple hours twice a month, Flannery said.

"It's going to take an effort from everybody," he said of bringing the resource to Moffat County.

Upcoming COMA meetings include:

An executive board of COMA meets next at 6 p.m. Monday at the Moffat County School Board Administration building at 775 Yampa Ave.

COMA members will meet with officials of The Memorial Hospital to talk about rehabilitation options at 3 p.m. June 30 in the hospital's Platinum Room at 745 Russell St.

COMA meets for its next regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. July 7 at the Moffat County School Board Administration building at 775 Yampa Ave.

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