Overcoming Drugs: Dallas County Treatment Court holds Addiction and Law workshop

Published 3:44 pm Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Dallas County Treatment Court held its sixth annual Addiction and Law training workshop on Thursday at the George P. Evans building.

Speakers from across the state, Louisiana and Ohio discussed ways of combating drugs to law enforcement officers, court officials, treatment providers, attorneys and community leaders.

The workshop is put on every September by the Dallas County Treatment Court and Dallas County Commission. Dallas County Circuit Court Judge Bob Armstrong, who appeared at the event, started the program in 2013.

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Dallas County Drug Court Executive Director and Selma City Councilwoman Miah Jackson said the program is crucial to help people overcome their addiction issues.

“The socio-economic cost of substance abuse related issues is evident in our community,” Jackson said. “Today’s event emphasized that individuals in recovery and their support systems can be change agents in our communities. It is crucial that people experiencing mental and substance abuse disorders receive the support they need. The reality is that behavioral health is essential to health prevention works. Treatment is effective and people recover.”

“Dallas County has a big drug problem,” Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said. “My office works closely with the drug court.”

Judge Andra Sparks of Birmingham Municipal Court opened the event by discussing the Alabama Drug Offender Accountability Act. In the afternoon, he spoke about Ethics.

“I was last in Dallas County four years ago and glad I came back,” Sparks said. “I wanted to educate people about the Alabama Drug Offender Accountability Act. It continues to be a standard practice. If we’re not holding them accountable, we’re not doing our job.”

Judge Dr. Donald R. Johnson of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, talked about the role of the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney and treatment and gave a drug court operational overview.

“It’s a change to how we approach correctional, compliance and treatment versus jail and prison,” Johnson said. “We’re no longer focusing on state versus the individual. We’re all working together to help improve the individual.”

Other speakers on Thursday were:

-Alabama Department of Mental Health program director Luciana Coleman, who gave an overview of treatment assessment.

-Alabama Department of Corrections Classification Review Board Analyst Latrice Green, who discussed the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS).

-Aletheia House Treatment Facility Chief Operating Officer Gloria Howard, who discussed the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Training.

Dallas County Probate Judge-elect Jimmy Nunn, Dallas County Circuit Clerk Lynnethia Robinson and City councilwomen Jannie Thomas and Angela Benjamin all attended the event.