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Posted Monday, May 15th, 2017

Governor Christie Celebrates Success of Drug Court in Battling Addiction During National Drug Court Month

Governor Christie today marked National Drug Court Month by attending the Morris and Sussex counties Drug Court graduation this afternoon in Morris Township, and celebrating the completion by 13 new graduates of the rigorous program of comprehensive treatment, intensive supervision and strict accountability.

He also honored 15 participants who will commence to the program’s fourth and final phase.

photo: Goiv Christie speaking at podium

Morris County has more than 220 active Drug Court participants and Sussex County has 190. Statewide, there are 6,110 people enrolled in Drug Court and since 2002, more than 21,000 individuals have been enrolled throughout New Jersey.  By expanding the program statewide in July, even more people will get the second chance they so desperately need.

Gov. Christie, in his remarks,  said Drug Courts are achieving his goal of offering treatment to offenders with substance use disease instead of imprisoning them, giving them a chance to reclaim their lives, reunite with their families and friends, and once again become productive members of society.

DRUG COURT ISN’T EASY: Besides intensive probation supervision and structured treatment and recovery services, participants must make regular court appearances, have frequent, random drug testing, attend individual or group counseling and 12-step, self-help groups, and perform community service.

photo: (l/r) Sheriff James Gannon, Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco at Drug Court event

(l/r) Sheriff James Gannon, Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco

The program also fosters responsibility and personal accountability by utilizing sanctions and incentives, requiring payment of child support and other financial obligations, education, full-time employment, and involvement with self-help and community organizations to support the participant’s recovery after graduating from Drug of judge's gavel lying on a court bench

In addition to Gov. Christie, numerous court, political and law enforcement officials attended today’s event, including Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Morris County Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Superior Court Assignment Judge Stuart A. Minkowitz, Superior Court Judge Stephen Taylor, Drug Court Judge James DeMarzo, and Trial Court Administrator Rashad Shabaka-Burns.

“Drug Court is an effective justice intervention that is an alternative to incarceration and supports individuals who are trying to break the cycle of substance abuse,” said Morris County Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo. “On behalf of the entire Morris County Board of Freeholders, I applaud you graduates today for your strength, your perserverence, your commitment to recovery, and your desire to start new lives.”

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals was formed in 1994 with the goal to put a drug court within reach of every eligible person in need.  The NADCP established May as Drug Court Month.  Nationally, There are more than 3,000 drug courts that result in savings of up to $13,000 for every individual they serve, and return as much as $27 for every $1 invested.

This is due to their approach not only diverting individuals from a life of substance use and crime, but reducing the use of jail and prison beds, emergency room admissions, family conflicts associated with domestic violence and child abuse, the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and the number of placements in our overburdened foster care system.

Get more information by visiting New Jersey’s Drug Court program website.