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U.S. Drug Czar Addresses 2,500 Drug Court Professionals, Voices Strong Support for Expanding Drug Courts Throughout the Nation

ANAHEIM, Calif., June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National figures, stars from the world of sports and entertainment, public health and justice professionals, and Drug Court graduates gathered today in Anaheim, California to celebrate 20 years of Drug Court and call for a Drug Court to be put within reach of every American in need at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) 15th Annual Training Conference.

Speaking in front of a crowd representing every U.S. state and territory, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Gil Kerlikowske spoke about the need to expand the capacity of Drug Courts as well as create new ones. "Drug Court embodies the Obama Administration's approach to drug control, effectively combining treatment and sanctions. It is a comprehensive tool for reducing the public health and safety threats of drug abuse, he said. The Director most recently served as Policy Chief in Seattle, Washington and was joined on stage by law enforcement officials in uniform. "As Police Commissioner of Buffalo I witnessed the value of this approach and later worked with Attorney General Janet Reno to promote it. Three weeks ago, on my first official trip as Director of National Drug Control Policy, I visited a drug court in Nashville, Tennessee and heard remarkable stories from people on the path to recovery. The data -- which indicate Drug Courts are cost effective and graduates are less likely to recidivate - show that many will be successful. The President's Budget request for Drug Court and other problem-solving courts will establish new courts and expand treatment services in existing ones, helping thousands more Americans break the cycle of drug addiction and crime and begin their own road to recovery." Following his speech, the Director read a letter from President Obama commending Drug Courts "for the impact they have had on addressing substance abuse and to celebrate the lifesaving work of these critical programs."

There are currently 2,301 Drug Courts annually serving 120,000 people per year. Drug Courts strike the proper balance between the need to protect public safety and the need to improve public health by treating offenders involved with the criminal justice system as a result of their addiction. In doing so, Drug Courts significantly reduce drug abuse and crime and do so at less expense than any other justice strategy. Drug Courts save $3.36 for every dollar invested, and save as much as $12 when factoring in other costs offsets such as reduced victimization and reduced healthcare services.

"It is an honor for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals to welcome Director Kerlikowske to Anaheim for this tremendous gathering of dedicated public health and justice professionals," said NADCP Chief Executive Officer West Huddleston. He added, "The Director has been a champion of Drug Courts since his days in Buffalo and on behalf of the 22,000 Drug Court professionals represented by NADCP I wish to thank him for his support and for his pragmatic and comprehensive approach to drug policy. After twenty years of research and results we can now say that Drug Courts are the most successful justice intervention in our nation's history. Drug Courts work better than jails or prisons, better than probation and better than treatment alone. They are restoring lives, reuniting families and protecting public safety in communities all across this country. They are a solution to the vicious cycle of drugs and crime that has ensnared 1.2 million drug-addicted offenders in our criminal justice system. We must put a Drug Court within reach of every American in need."

About the National Association of Drug Court Professionals

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), a not-for-profit organization located in the Nation's Capital, was founded in 1994 by a group of judicial visionaries to reverse the growing impact of drug-related crime. They created a court model using a combination of accountability and treatment to compel and support drug-using offenders to change their lives. From that vision emerged the Drug Court movement and NADCP. In 1997, NADCP and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) then partnered to create the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI), the professional services branch of NADCP. Today, with 2,301 Drug Courts and another 1,191 problem-solving courts (mental health courts, community courts, reentry courts, DWI courts, etc.) in operation in all 50 states and U.S. territories, the NADCP has forever changed the face of the justice system.

NADCP is the premier national membership, training and advocacy organization for Drug Courts, representing over 22,000 multi-disciplinary Drug Court professionals. NADCP hosts the largest annual training conference on drugs and crime in the nation and provides 130 Drug Court training and technical assistance events, benefiting tens of thousands of drug court professionals each year. NADCP/NDCI continues to write, publish, and disseminate scholastic and practical publications that are critical to the ongoing growth and fidelity of the Drug Court model. NADCP works tirelessly on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures to transform the American justice system through policy, legislation and appropriations.

SOURCE National Association of Drug Court Professionals
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