RALEIGH – The issue of state funding for drug treatment courts is back on the minds of state legislators.
Funding was cut from the state budget two years ago for the system of courts that helps people of all ages fight various drug addictions and regain control of their lives.
“I ask you to please send me legislation that will re-establish our drug treatment courts and also increase penalties for those who set up meth labs in our communities. I will sign both of those pieces of legislature immediately,” Gov. Pat McCrory said at his State of the State Address last week, which led to applause.
The $2 million in cuts forced some drug courts to shut down. Others, like the drug court in Wake County, survived from local funding and by downsizing. The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts says bringing back state funding could allow for a bigger and better program.
A statement from the office says, the NCAOC supports the reinstatement of drug treatment courts if and only if all other judicial branch priorities are met and if new funds are appropriated to operate the courts."
That support would have to come from some of the same Republican lawmakers who cut the funding two years ago.
“The reports we had were that there were some less-than-stellar results as far as the dollars that were being invested. [McCrory] may have some new ideas in that area, we're willing to listen," state Senate leader Phil Berger said.
McCrory saidhe's seen first-hand the “collateral damage to our families, our communities and taxpayers if we continue to sweep these issues under the rug."
The Wake County drug treatment court is currently funded by a federal grant that runs out in September.