BEATRICE – Gage County has renewed membership in the Southeast Nebraska Drug Court. The county supervisors Tuesday approved the one-year-agreement, which will cost the county $8,251 for the year ending next June 30th.
:14 “which is up”
Gage County Attorney Roger Harris says Gage, Jefferson, Saline and Thayer Counties each pay $1,000 to be members in the drug court program, and their remaining fee is based on caseload.
Harris said Gage County saw eight drug court participants terminated from the program this past year. Persons entering the program plead guilty to a felony offense, then are eligible for treatment and services. If they successfully complete the program, the felony can be wiped off their record. Those failing the drug court program, are then typically re-sentenced to prison.
Harris said a growing problem is abuse of prescription drugs.
:17 “have leveled off”
Harris told supervisors that the drug program saves money, by avoiding higher expenses with cases that go to trial. Harris estimates the average cost of a trial for a defendant with substance abuse problems ranges from six thousand to ten thousand dollars.
He says the court has a 91% success rate of persons who stay clean for five years after entering the program.
:25 “their families”
One area of concern is the number of drug court participants who are dual-diagnosis defendants…those with mental health and substance abuse issues.
The Gage County Board approved the new agreement, on a 7-0 vote.