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Drug Court

It is the mission of the Drug Court program to successfully place and keep persons charged with felony possession of controlled substances into a closely supervised treatment program for a period of at least one year in order to achieve recovery for the offender and reduced societal and criminal justice system costs. The goal of the program is to graduate a clean and sober, responsible, healthy, productive and employed member of our community.

 

Drug Court Location and Hours and Drug Court Team Directory

Drug Court is a program of the Lane County Circuit Court. All court appearances occur in Court Room 408 on the 4th Floor of the Lane County Court House located at 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon. Drug Court Status Hearings occur at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday of each week, unless otherwise specified by the Court.

 

Location:
Courthouse, 125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene, OR 97401
  (Please click here for directions)
Status Hearings: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday
Graduations: Last Tuesday of the month (few exceptions)

 

 

 

Drug Court Team:  
   
Judge: Hon. Suzanne B. Chanti
   
Judicial Assistant: Jondwylyn Thomas
  Phone: (541) 682-4254
  FAX: (541) 682-4107
   
Drug Court Administrator: Danielle Hanson 
  Phone: (541) 682-6672
  FAX: (541) 682-4107
   
Asst. District Attorney: Amy Seely
  Phone: (541) 682-4261
  fax: (541) 682-3890
   
Dep. Public Defender: Janise Augur
  Phone: (541) 484-2611
  FAX: (541) 484-5068
   
Pub. Def. Trial Asst.: Tom Buhler
  Phone: (541) 484-2611
  FAX: (541) 484-5068
   
Treatment Agency: Emergence
  Phone: (541) 342-6987
  FAX: (541) 342-7132

 

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Why Do We Need Drug Court?

The quickest answer is that the traditional criminal case process has led to little or no success with drug dependent and addicted persons. The connection between drug abuse and crime is supported by numerous studies. Research has demonstrated that roughly 75% of the crimes committed at the state and local levels are drug related. There are really only two effective means of halting or reducing the criminality of the drug addicted offender: lock them up or successfully treat the addiction. The former is costing the taxpayer a fortune at the expense of more productive ways to spend tax dollars. It costs about $96 per day to house an offender in the County Jail and the addicted offender comes out still addicted and lacking in education or skills to change prior behavior. It costs between $7 to $9 per day to treat and educate drug offenders and when that offender is treated within the model called `Drug Court,' the outcomes are dramatically improved over all known prior methods of dealing with such offenders.

Drug Court frees up jail space for more serious offenders who desperately need to remain in custody, but it also provides closer supervision and a longer period of treatment than any other criminal justice or corrections programs. The Drug Court gets excellent outcomes, it is efficient and cost effective. We need Drug Court because it works.

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What is a Drug Court?

The first Drug Court was created in 1989 in Miami, Florida, in response to the serious drug problems in south Florida. It was designed to rapidly place drug-affected defendants into appropriate treatment programs with close supervision by a single judge familiar with both treatment and the offenders. The program includes treatment for at least nine months with regular, random urinalysis testing to check progress and compliance. It also includes frequent court appearances by each participant in front of the Drug Court Judge. Treatment progress and compliance is discussed and if necessary, sanctions and/or incentives may be imposed by the judge to achieve compliance.

This model for dealing with drug dependent and addicted offenders has proven so effective and cost efficient that there are now Drug Courts in every state and even foreign countries. Lane County's Drug Court, which become operational in October, 1994, was one of the first 20 drug courts in the United States and is based on the Miami model.

 

The Drug Court includes the following features:

-Notice of Drug Court eligibility at first appearance
-Immediate orientation at the Public Defender's Office
-Next day appearance in Drug Court for entrance decision
-Drug Court Program Entry: 1) Filing of Petition to enter program, 2) Admission of the facts alleged in the charging document, 3) Agreement to successfully complete all phases of the appropriate level of treatment in exchange for dismissal of the charge(s) upon graduation from program, 4) Agreement to appear in court as directed and to be subject to sanctions by the court for non-compliance with treatment
-Immediate referral to treatment at the Drug Court treatment agency
-Two week trial period before decision to stay in Drug Court becomes final
-Representation throughout Drug Court by the Drug Court Public Defender
-Status Hearings before Drug Court Judge
-Payment of weekly amount towards the cost of treatment
-Dismissal of the pending charges upon graduation

 

Drug Court Eligibility

The Drug Court program is available to adult defendants who meet the following criteria:

- Persons charged with Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (UPCS) Schedule 1or 2, Attempted UPCS, Schedule 1 or 2 - possessing only a small amount of a drug consistent with personal use;
- Applicant has not participated in the Drug Court program;
- District Attorney's Office does not allege the applicant is a drug dealer;
- There are no other felonies or Class A misdemeanors pending or charged;
- The State is not seeking a dispositional departure;
- There is no hold from another jurisdiction;
- The State does not allege that the applicant is associated with a gang or criminal enterprise;
- The applicant has not been convicted of a violent felony, and is not currently charged with a violent felony.

Drug Court also accepts participants as conditions of probation and through sentencing agreements.

Graduation from Drug Court

A participant is eligible to graduate from the Drug Court program upon completion of the following minimum requirements:

- Not less than twelve (12) months in the program;
- Completion of all treatment requirements;
- Verifiable abstinence for not less than ninety (90) days prior to graduation (a missed or diluted UA will result in an automatic extension of 90 days);
- Payment of a weekly amount towards the cost of treatment
- Satisfaction of the Drug Court Judge that a participant has acquired the tools and skills to continue his or her recovery and be a responsible member of the community.

The Drug Court Program is the product of a cooperative agreement between the court, the District Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office and law enforcement agencies. It is not limited to ``first time offenders" but is open to nearly anyone charged with a felony possession of drugs and in some cases, accompanying charges.

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Does Drug Court Work?

Considerable research has been conducted on Drug Courts. Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse concluded that Drug Courts are both efficient and cost effective. Among their findings were the following:

  1. Drug Courts have much higher rates of retention in treatment than other criminal justice programs, or for treatment in general;
  2. Drug Courts are not just treating first time offenders but are treating many drug offenders with long criminal records;
  3. Drug Courts provide closer, more comprehensive supervision (monitoring and testing) than other criminal justice programs;
  4. Drug Courts generate savings and cost avoidance in reduced jail/prison use, reduced criminality and lower criminal justice costs;
  5. The treatment is for longer periods of time than occurs in other justice programs;
  6. Criminal recidivism is substantially reduced.

A recent review of the criminal history records of all Lane County Drug Court Graduates between October, 1994 and January, 2001, demonstrated a 96% reduction in subsequent felony arrests, an 86% reduction in subsequent misdemeanor arrests and a 51% reduction in minor traffic infraction citations. Other research has demonstrated a savings to the Oregon taxpayer of at least $7 for every $1 spent on treatment in Drug Courts. In addition to promoting community safety, Drug Courts are also saving lives, restoring families and health, promoting employment and education and ensuring the birth of ``drug free" babies to addicted female participants.

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