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Health and Family Services Cabinet
First Lady, state officials announce Knox, Laurel County drug court funding; Program helps parents overcome addictions, strengthens families

Press Release Date:  Thursday, October 25, 2007  
Contact Information:  Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180 or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2007) – First Lady Glenna Fletcher, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), the Court of Justice and Operation UNITE today announced funding for a new drug court program to serve adults and families in Knox and Laurel counties.

The $60,000 in funding from CHFS will go toward treatment services for families involved with the Knox or Laurel County drug courts, which will offer an alternative to traditional processing of nonviolent drug offenders. In the 11 years since the Kentucky Court of Justice established the drug court system, nearly 2,000 participants have graduated from the program.

The First Lady said that drug courts are a significant piece of Governor Ernie Fletcher’s early prevention efforts to help Kentuckians with serious substance abuse and dependency issues.

“Since the first day in office, Ernie and I knew that it was imperative that all Kentuckians are made aware of healthier lifestyle choices, not only for fuller, more productive lives, but also to reduce the economic impact on our state,” the First Lady said. “The funding of this successful drug court program in Knox and Laurel counties will assist these adults and families, who were once desperate and desolate, to have dreams that can become real.”

Eighty percent of Kentucky foster children have parents with substance abuse addictions.

CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell said the drug court program serves many CHFS clients who struggle to raise children while fighting their addictions.

“When children are at risk of abuse and being removed from home to stay safe, treating their parents becomes imperative,” he said. “Drug court is often the best option to reach them. It gives parents the stable foundation they need to get off and stay off drugs.”

Governor Fletcher said the proven success of drug courts shows positive progress in the fight against substance abuse.

“Helping parents overcome their addictions is an important step in helping families get healthy,” he said. “With its intensive treatment and supervision, drug courts work to rehabilitate offenders and help them become productive, accountable and responsible parents and citizens.”

"Substance abuse by parents devastates the family and creates far-reaching social implications for health care systems, schools, the courts and child welfare agencies,” said Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert. “Family drug court provides hope for this grim situation by helping parents free themselves of addiction and improve parenting skills. Through the collaborative efforts of the Court of Justice, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and UNITE, I am excited about expanding this multidisciplinary team approach to Knox and Laurel counties through the leadership of Family Court Judge Durenda Lawson."  

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Last Updated 10/25/2007