LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Cindi Reams-Wagers, program supervisor, explained that those participating in drug court have to call a toll-free number every morning and give their identification number. There is no pattern to the random testing.
“The drug tests are done randomly and you never know when it could be, so there is very little chance that anyone could do drugs or use alcohol without it being detected during that same week,” Lay added.
There is also homework that participants must complete and bring to their sessions, which Reams-Wagers said usually lasts around eight weeks.
The second phase is attending and participating in weekly substance abuse meetings along with several self-help classes. The program usually takes a minimum of 18 months to complete, even though the average is 24 months through the circuit court.
In Laurel County, all drug court cases are handled through the circuit court; although in Knox County, both the district and circuit courts are involved in the program.
The Drug Court team is comprised of Laurel Circuit Judges Lay and Tom Jensen, Drug Court staff, officers with the Probation and Parole, Office of Public Advocacy, Commonwealth’s Attorney, and members of the Cumberland River Comprehensive Care who all meet to discuss the participants, their progress and other issues involved in the program. These meetings are extra duty for court officials, who are not paid for the extra hours they devote toward helping addicts recover and putting them on a road to sobriety and responsibility.
“We realize that there are relapses,” Reams-Wagers said. “In fact, they are common, but we have graduated sanctions when this happens. They have to have an element of accountability.”
But even with the sanctions, participants still have the option to avoid long-term prison sentences if they dedicate themselves to recovery from addiction.