Sumner County's Drug Court Could Be Saved - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Sumner County's Drug Court Could Be Saved

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by Adam Ghassemi

GALLATIN, Tenn. – A drug court in Sumner County is at risk, but one group has stepped in to save it, saying it can be the last option between a life of drug abuse and prison.

A 2006 car accident left a mid-state woman with injuries and a prescription for Lortab. That was long before the doctors caught on to her addiction, and cut her off.

"I needed it for everything," said the woman, who spoke under the condition of anonymity.

"I was taking about 20 oxy 80s a day, which is enough to kill anybody. I should be dead. That's where my tolerance was."

She said her addiction got so bad she was calling fake prescriptions into pharmacies before draining her family's savings, and nearly losing their home.

"When you're hooked on that stuff nothing else matters. You're kids, your husband, anybody. Nobody matters," she said.

Officers from across Middle Tennessee were after her. She finally was caught and given a choice: spend years in prison or the attend the Sumner County Drug Court.

The program forces accountability with drug testing multiple times a week, and constant meetings with judges.

"You're doing something pertaining to Drug Court and recovery seven days a week," said Director Tracye Bryant.

However, state grants and court fees paid by offenders hasn't been going far enough. Bryant said that's mainly because the people who are victims of addiction are also victims of the recession.

"When they can't get jobs they can't pay their fees. And the fees don't go back into the pot of money," she said.

Now the group Leadership Sumner is stepping up to help.

Ryan Crawford, a member of the 2013 Leadership Sumner Class, said by phone Wednesday the group was emotionally moved by the Sumner County Drug Court's mission.

That's why they plan to donate roughly $50,000 in the next six-months to cover the immediate shortfall, while organizing a business plan to make the program permanently sustainable for years to come.

Crawford said their logic is tax payers must, "pay for it either way." Either by paying to have a drug user incarcerated or go through this program, a cheaper alternative he says.

"It was just like a blessing," Bryant said about being adopted by the organization for at least the next three years.

The anonymous woman has now been clean for more than four years, and is back to living a normal life.

She said the Drug Court gives people like her a second chance without a life dependent on drugs or alcohol.

"It's very easy to get there. They hard part is getting back," she said.



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