MISSION AND HISTORY
To combat the opiate epidemic by educating and equipping whole communities to understand and treat substance abuse as a brain disease and provide better, more compassionate treatment for one of our most vulnerable groups of people.
WHY DRUG COURTS ARE A SOLUTION…
We execute our mission by developing smart and effective drug courts in partnership with local and regional facilities & programs that provide treatment with accountability.
The Court sits at the crossroads of our communities. It has long been the institution of punishment but in the past 30 years with the prevalence of drugs in our communities throughout the United States police, lawmakers, and judicial systems find themselves
In a peculiar position – do we treat or punish the illegal act of consuming drugs? Culturally, we have treated substance abuse as a moral failing and the courts have followed in suit. We have sentenced millions of people to months and years behind bars hoping that time away from the substance and the lifestyles associated with drug use would “fix” them. But it did not.
Our jails are filled with men and women sick from withdrawal. Our hospital emergency rooms rotate in and out addicted folks who have overdosed. Our police, paramedics and fire departments are called to overdoses and D.O.A.’s (dead on arrival) hourly.
The opiate epidemic that has swept small town and suburban America has made this issue even more complex – what do we do when our sons and daughters—the all-stars of the track or football team suddenly find themselves addicted to opiates?
When a family identifies that a member has a drug problem, they cannot provide the appropriate accountability or consequences necessary to create positive change
Treatment providers often are unable to offer consequences to lack of participation, relapse or noncompliance.
Regular courtroom dockets lack the resources such as trained staff, time, relationships with treatment providers, or funding to offer treatment.
When a community can identify drugs as a real problem for its citizens, they often lack the legal ability to impose treatment on individuals. They may not be able to leverage treatment agencies to provide bed or program space because the needs are too many.
All of the entities are left feeling powerless. By coming together at one table and creating a Drug Court, real change is made in the lives the addicted and their families. Restorative Justice happens. Lives that were once considered too far gone, “not my child anymore”, the throw-a-ways, the family thief, the junkie- are now back.
DRUG COURTS SAVE MONEY…
While each County and State will vary, in Franklin County, Ohio
Prison costs $28,000 per year, and
Jail costs $80 per day ($29,000 per year).
During this same time period, Franklin County operated their 2-Year Drug Court program with
Drug Court costs at $2,000-$3,000 per participant, per year.
SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS…
As the pioneer and head magistrate for the Franklin County Drug Court, Judge Scott VanDerKarr developed the program with a heart and mind focused on saving lives, restoring dignity, creating accountability and delivering fiscal benefits to all tiers of the judicial system.
With this template in hand, Judge VanDerKarr, with the help of a compassionate Board of Directors, formed Lives Back to assist other counties in Ohio and beyond with the resources and playbook for developing their own highly successful Drug Court programs.
If you're a concerned citizen, government official, Justice of the Peace or law enforcement official and would like to learn how to create and deploy the Lives Back program to your community, we encourage you to contact us. We can help. More information on the details of the program and what Lives Back can provide may be found on the SERVICES tab of this website or feel free to contact us anytime via email for more information or answers to specific questions.
Over more than a nine year period, Franklin County has demonstrated that Drug Courts provide better outcomes in long term recovery, reduced recidivism and significant reduction in short and long term judicial & incarceration costs.
By helping addicts achieve long term recovery, families are healed, children are given their parents back and program graduates are allowed to successfully reenter society, becoming responsible tax paying citizens . This programs truly gives addicts their Lives Back.