CLINTON, TN – ASAP staff, along with key community leaders, will be camping at the courthouse during Red Ribbon Week (week of October 23) until enough money is raised to fill the funding gap for the Family Drug Treatment Court Program, proposed to be operated through Juvenile Court. Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention observance and, according to Stacey Pratt, ASAP Project Director, “seems like a perfect time to raise both awareness and funds for such a great opportunity.”
“The Family Drug Treatment Court has been under development for a number of years,” said Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP. “It is based on best practices from effective programs from across the country.” The program is geared toward rehabilitating not only adolescents through the Juvenile Court system, but their entire family unit. To read the White Paper Summary of the Family Drug Treatment Court click here.
Juvenile Court Judge Brian Hunt said “this program offers the possibility to break the generational cycle of substance misuse many of our juvenile offenders experience. It also offers hope; hope that these adolescents can stay out of jail as adults and become contributing members of their community.”
The program offers a solution to curb the high rates of addiction and incarceration that have resulted in a spike recently due to the opioid crisis. In 2014, 20.3 million local tax dollars were spent cleaning up the consequences of substance misuse (Strutner, Harrison, et al. 2014). The Family Drug Treatment Court offers an opportunity to not only save money, but save families and save lives.
The Family Drug Treatment Court was first funded in part by the United Way of Anderson County. The City of Rocky Top and the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary have added funds to the project; however, there is still a $33,000 funding gap.
“ASAP is committed to finding a way to bridge the funding gap to make this essential program a reality,” according to Strutner. “We are running out of time. If we do not fill the funding gap over the next month, we will have to return the grant funds back to our donors. We so strongly believe in this program, we will do whatever we have to do to make it happen.”
Chief Jim Shetterly reiterated, “this is a great opportunity for our city to show support for our children. We believe it will help provide them a new path.”
“As a community, we’ve done a good job preventing initiation of substance use among our adolescents, but we have yet to do enough to reach these most at-promise youth,” said Strutner. According to survey results from Anderson County, adolescent prevalence of drug use has decreased every year since 2012. “We have to do better. These adolescents deserve this opportunity: if we have to camp at the courthouse to make it happen, that is exactly what we are going to do.”
ASAP plans to remain at the courthouse until the $33,000 funding gap is filled. They are asking community members and local businesses to make contributions to this campaign. ASAP is a 501c3 organization and all contributions are tax deductible. To make a donation to the Family Drug Treatment Court of Anderson County bring cash or a check to the courthouse during Red Ribbon Week or use the PayPal link.