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Hard to believe $2,000 weighing on drug court

July 19, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

Martin County commissioners have concerns about adding an assistant drug court coordinator to the payroll. As things stand, with the cost divided among three counties, Martin County would have to pony up $2,000. That is an extremely small amount of money, given the size of the county budget. But some commissioners worry about future costs, while others say they don't want to move ahead without buy-ins from the County Attorney and drug court steering committee. The County Attorney has expressed reservations about using drug court funds to pay for a salary. The drug court money from the state is intended to go to drug court expenses, not salaries.

On the other side of the equation is Miranda Rosa, the drug court coordinator who would like some help. She is overseeing drug court and family drug court. A?little assistance doesn't seem out of line.

And then there is this: Drug court works. The state recently evaluated how drug court has been doing around the state for the past 2 1/2 years. Drug court is reducing repeat offenses, improving public safety, saving taxpayers money and improving the lives of the participants.

The program establishes consequences for those who fail to meet its standards, but it also allows them to avoid standard punishment in favor of getting their lives back on track. Drug court takes the approach that the problem is the drug abuse, not the person abusing the drugs. In other words, it is about getting basically good people back on the right track.

It's difficult to believe that $2,000 should stand in the way of the good drug court has been doing. We hope the steering committee weighs in soon with its opinion so commissioners can make a decision. And we hope commissioners are looking for a way to help drug court.



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