NADCP Conference Makes National Headlines
From major network news shows like Hardball with Chris Matthews and Good Morning America, to the Washington Post, Politico, and the Associated Press,
NADCP's Annual Conference generated more media attention for Drug
Courts than any other event in the organization's history. From July
17-20 literally millions of individuals received the message that Drug
Courts are a proven budget solution.
Below is just a sample of the media coverage Drug Courts received during NADCP's 17th Annual Drug Court Training Conference:
"We can't continue to do the same thing over and over again and somehow belive the results are going to be different. Weve seen a tremendous increase in our prison population, and one way to defray that is through Drug Treatment Court."
Phish frontman Trey Anastasio gets confessional at drug court conference
"The musician, 46, was an addict in 2006 when he was arrested and charged with seven felonies. Given the choice of jail or drug court, he chose the later. 'I am here today to tell you that that was the most important decision of my life,' he said."
The problem with most celebrity do-gooding in Washington is the glossy self-congratulatory earnestness, the sense they’re punching an “I care” ticket about some cause vaguely related to their VIP life in Hollywood.
Then there’s Trey Anastasio. The lead guitarist and vocalist for jam band Phish, along with actors Matthew Perry and Martin Sheen, turned a four-day conference on drug courts into an AA-style confessional about their messy personal addictions.
“My life was a complete catastrophe,” Anastasio told the crowd. “I was very, very sick from drugs and alcohol.” Sheen has been open about his alcoholism; Perry confessed he once took “enough prescription pain medicine to kill a small horse.”
Think of all the stars in and out of rehab (Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston , Lindsay Lohan, Robert Downey, Jr.), then how many are willing to talk about it in any non-promotional setting.
The conference at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center closed Wednesday with A-list testimonials about the importance of drug courts instead of jail, reports our colleague Aaron Leitko. Perry, new to the addiction advocacy game, looked a little nervous and said he came at the request of his sponsor, Earl Hightower. “He saved my life on so many occasions that I basically have to do everything that he says.” Sheen recited the same Rabindranath Tagore poem he pulled out during his last visit here.
But it was Anastasio, a graduate of drug court in New York state, who really put it out there. The musician, 46, was an addict in 2006 when he was arrested and charged with seven felonies. Given the choice of jail or drug court, he chose the later. “I am here today to tell you that that was the most important decision of my life,” he said.
For 14 months, he lived near the court and kept a rigorous schedule of treatment and community service. “I’m gonna tell you how great it is,” he said with grin. “But it’s important to say that when I was in it, it was very hard and I was not a huge fan.” Today’s Anastasio is clean and goes to AA meetings almost every day. “What started off as a nightmare — it was just crazy that I ended up in this program — over time I’ve been able to see what an incredible blessing it is.”
Expand veterans drug courts, senators told
"Actor Martin Sheen pressed Congress on Tuesday to authorize the $88.7 million needed to fund veterans drug treatment courts in 2012, and urged lawmakers to keep expanding both civilian drug courts and those set up specifically to help veterans struggling with substance abuse."
Actor Martin Sheen pressed Congress on Tuesday to authorize the $88.7 million needed to fund veterans drug treatment courts in 2012, and urged lawmakers to keep expanding both civilian drug courts and those set up specifically to help veterans struggling with substance abuse.
Veterans drug treatment courts serve active-duty service members and veterans who have committed low-level drug crimes. The courts focus on curbing recidivism by helping veterans get treatment for substance abuse so they can stay out of the jail system.
Sheen, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, emphasized that he is not a former president, but has played one on TV. “The West Wing” star helped set up a civilian drug court system in Berkeley, Calif., in 1996, with a focus on the homeless addicts in the city.
“We ask so much of our men and women in uniform, and they ask for so little in return,” Sheen said. “They are often the last to ask for counseling or treatment. It is our duty to care for our veterans when they suffer as a direct result of their service to our country.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said veterans are returning from combat with invisible wounds that can lead to alcohol and drug abuse or other kinds of serious problems.
“About 30 percent of [post-traumatic stress disorder cases] or traumatic brain injuries are undiagnosed,” Blumenthal said. “This makes them candidates for committing acts of violence if they go back out into society without understanding there are problems.”
The Obama administration released its national drug control strategy last week. It identified issues of concern to specific groups, including service members, veterans and military families, said Benjamin Tucker, deputy director of state, local and tribal affairs for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Tucker said that a recent Justice Department survey of prison inmates showed that about 60 percent of the 140,000 veterans in state and federal prisons were struggling with a substance abuse problem, and that about a quarter of them reported being under the influence of a drug at the time of their offense.
Jeanne LaFazia, chief judge of Rhode Island District Court, introduced the pilot program for her state’s first veterans treatment court. She testified that she had been seeing more veterans and service members in Rhode Island courts.
She added that family members often said they had never seen the defendant act that way before they were deployed. She also advocates for the continued expansion of veterans treatment courts.
Martin Sheen Advocates for Drug Courts on Capitol Hill
"Drug courts combine substance abuse treatment with close judicial supervision in lieu of serving jail time. There are more than 2500 drug courts nationwide, and nearly 120,000 Americans a year receive help from the programs. Sheen and others are asking Congress to fund drug courts at a minimum of $88.7 million for FY2012"
Drug Court Plea Hits the Mark
"Early Tuesday morning, actors Martin Sheen, Matthew Perry, and Harry Lennix joined with Republican and Democratic senators to push for more federal funding for drug courts."
Martin Sheen, former TV president, lobbies Congress on drug courts
"Drug court advocates contend that the courts help reduce recidivism, reducing the number of people in prison and returning law-abiding, tax-paying citizens to society. Drug court participants reported 25% less criminal activity and had 16% fewer arrests than comparable offenders not enrolled in drug courts, according to a Justice Department study."
Martin Sheen Lobbies Senate For Drug Courts
"Currently operating in all 50 states, drug courts offer drug offenders the chance to enter treatment programs as an alternative to prison sentences. Veterans courts utilize the same model, coordinating with VA medical centers and community resources to get veterans additional help. The first veterans court was called to order in 2008."
Martin Sheen advocates for Drug Courts at Senate hearing
"As federal and state budget get cut back, Drug Courts need to take a more prominent role in our criminal justice system because of their cost saving potential, according to Douglas Marlowe, the Chief of Science, Law & Policy for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals."
Kem's Redemption Song
"The Root caught up with Kem at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals' Drug Court Training Conference, where he had delivered remarks in support of the court's alternative, closely supervised treatment for nonviolent drug addicts. It's a topic that hits close to home for the artist, who says his recovery has been the cornerstone of his success."
Celebrities lobby lawmakers on drug courts
"In the days of partisan bickering Republicans and Democrats spoke out in support of the program.
'We need to treat drug addiction as a medical condition and reserve space in our prisons for those who are violent,' said Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky."
Media coverage of
in Washington, DC: