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13 Individuals Set to Complete Greenup/Lewis Counties Drug Court Program

Pacific Standard

Comedian Cledus T. Judd, who is known as the “Weird Al” Yankovic of country music for his parodies, will be the guest speaker at a Greenup/Lewis County Drug Court graduation ceremony on Friday, May 27.

The event is to recognize 13 individuals who have successfully completed the Drug Court program. The public and media are invited to attend. The ceremony will take place at 12:00pm at Greenup First United Methodist Church at 607 Main St. in Greenup.

After a two-decade long career with songs like “I Love NASCAR,” “If Shania Was Mine” and “Luke Bryan,” Judd announced in January 2015 that he was retiring from the music industry to focus on raising his daughter and publicly talking about his experiences with mental illness and drug addiction to help others.

Circuit Court Judge Robert Conley volunteers his time to conduct Drug Court proceedings for the Greenup/Lewis Drug Court program and will preside over the graduation ceremony.

In addition to the public and media, invitees to the graduation ceremony include law enforcement representatives, elected officials, attorneys and representatives of drug treatment facilities.

The Greenup/Lewis County Drug Court program currently has 48 participants. That number includes the 13 scheduled to graduate Friday. Since the program began in January 2002, 246 individuals have graduated from the program.

The staff members who oversee the Greenup/Lewis Drug Court program are program supervisor Andy Harris, recovery coordinator Melissa McIntosh and case managers Jordan Chapman and Arlene McCann.

Kentucky Drug Court is administered through the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort, which oversees 54 adult programs that serve 113 counties.

Drug Court’s mission is to provide court-supervised treatment as an alternative to incarceration. The program’s success can be measured in the number of lives changed and the cost savings to Kentucky taxpayers. For every $1 spent on Drug Court graduates, the state saves $2.72 on what it would have spent on incarcerating these individuals.

The program has helped reduce illicit drug use and related criminal activity and lowered re-arrest, re-conviction and re-incarceration rates. It has increased payments of delinquent child support and improved employment rates.

As of March 22, 2016, 7,716 individuals had graduated from Drug Court programs statewide and participants had paid $5.7 million in child support and more than $6 million in court obligations, including restitution and fines.

Drug Court coordinates the efforts of the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social services and treatment communities to actively intervene and break the cycle of substance abuse, addiction and crime.

The program consists of three phases that last at least one year and are followed by aftercare. Drug Court staff and participants work together to develop individual program plans with specific responsibilities and goals with timetables. Plans include group, family and individual counseling; frequent and random urine testing; education and vocational training; scheduled payments of restitution, child support and court fees; and health and community activities. Participants report directly to their Drug Court judge, who rewards progress and sanctions noncompliance.

When participants successfully complete the program, charges may be dismissed through diversion, or conditional discharge may be granted through probation. Judges who participate in Drug Court volunteer their time to the program.

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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