Drug Court Receives Federal Grant to Enhance Services

The 20th Circuit Court is pleased to announce the Adult Drug Treatment Court (drug court), a specialty program for non-violent felony offenders with acute substance-use disorders, received a 3-year federal grant award, totaling $920,000, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for fiscal years 2015-2017.  The drug court was one of twelve programs nationwide to receive this award.

The grant is designed to enhance substance abuse treatment services available to drug court participants and to provide advanced training to court personnel and treatment providers.  The grant allows the drug court to employ two peer recovery coaches to provide case management services for drug court participants.  Grant funds will also be used to host regional training events designed to enable criminal justice and substance use disorder treatment agencies to respond more effectively to the growing problem of heroin and prescription medication abuse.

Reflecting the community at-large, the drug court has experienced a sharp increase in the number of participants addicted to heroin and/or opiate pain medications.  The support provided by peer recovery coaches, coupled with specialized training, positions the drug court to be a West Michigan leader in assisting opiate addicted persons in the criminal justice system.

A study conducted by Grand Valley State University in 2014 demonstrated that the drug court significantly reduces new crime and repeated drug use among high risk and high need offenders, such as persons addicted to heroin and opiate prescription medications.  Notably, drug court participants were 73% less likely to commit a new crime within three years of discharge from the drug court when compared to a similar group of people who were sentenced to traditional probation.

This time-limited SAMHSA grant will enhance services available through the drug court.  The drug court’s continued operation, however, remains dependent on state grant dollars and the continued financial support of Ottawa County.