This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

My Photo
Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Drug Court Started - Minnesota

Drug Court started
Program to help users stay or become substance-free
Charles Ramsay
Mesabi Daily News
Thursday, October 19th, 2006 10:58:05 PM

VIRGINIA — The Iron Range’s Drug Court is now open.

Although it may take a few more weeks for the first cases to come through, Oct. 1 marked the first date persons will be considered to take part in the court program. Judges and staffers went through training earlier this year.

The Drug Court will work with low-level, non-violent persons with addictive situations who have been convicted, to work through a program including weekly court and other visits to become and stay free of methamphetamine use and other drugs.

The Duluth Drug Court in operation for four years has “had great success in making a difference in people’s lives,’’ Sixth Judicial District Court Judge James Florey told an audience of social services, law, legal, and counselor staffers who have worked to bring the Virginia-based program into being. The program was formally announced Thursday.

Story Continues Below

Judge Gary Pagliaccetti said a visit to the Duluth Drug Court convinced him it was workable. A lot of people have worked on the Virginia project to get it started, but “this court program cannot work and will not work without the cooperation’’ of everyone, he added, praising Florey for his leadership in starting the program.

Both judges will be devoting some of Thursday afternoons to the court, which officials said is expected to average about 40 participants from across the Iron Range.

David Nyquist, chief probation officer for Arrowhead Regional Corrections, said afterward the Duluth Drug Court has served 126 participants, of which 66 have successfully completed the program and 21 were cut from it for continuing to violate terms. Weekly court visits, random or daily checks with staffers for participants are what “truly keeps them from using,’’ he said.

ARC Director Tom Roy added that with the Duluth Drug Court, “our recidivism rate is extremely low,’’ with only one person committing a felony after going through the program.

St. Louis County Alan Mitchell told listeners a major reason for big increases in criminal court cases “has been the proliferation of drugs in St. Louis County.’’ More cases in the north like what Duluth was handling helped him to seek “similar services on the Iron Range,’’ he said.

Low-level, non-violent drug users with addiction issues can get more help from different agencies through the court, while taking some stress off law enforcement, prison and other services providers.

“It’s an alternative,’’ Mitchell explained, with the end result expected that participants “will become productive citizens again.’’

St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson, who chaired the conference, introduced U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., as helping get the court funding through, and described him as “a champion on methamphetamine.’’

Oberstar described how the process went through two applications being rejected, before the Virginia Drug Court was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice for a $250,000 grant for its first two years of operation.

Funding for drug courts nationwide was at a maximum of $50 million in 2002, and was down to $10 million this past federal fiscal year. Requests for funding for drug courts nationwide next year are at $65.5 million, he added.

The Virginia court funding was “one of the larger grants approved,’’ he said.

In meeting with county judges and other officials in his district, Oberstar said he learned that 91 percent of criminal arrests in Pine County and 94 percent of arrests in Isanti County were meth-related.

Besides dental care costs and psychological costs, in numerous cases, officials related to him, persons using meth asked to be arrested “to protect themselves from themselves,’’ Oberstar said.

The drug court approach will involve many agencies and providers in a unified treatment, as “local governments can’t do this on their own,’’ he added.

St. Louis County Commissioner Mike Forsman, who is on the county’s subcommittee on meth, noted the benefits to residents of the program, beyond treatment. A dollar spent for a person at a substance abuse treatment facility can keep away $12 spent in police, court, social services, counseling and other following services. “This is about prevention,’’ he said.


Pat Grahek, clinical supervisor at the Arrowhead Center in Virginia, which counsels chemical dependence and other users on the Range, explained that the post-conviction drug court will change from a more traditional probationary involvement in intensity, involvement and locale for a participant to weekly sessions in court. Home visits by staffers may be done also.

Goals may be set, such as getting a general equivalency diploma, a job, or mental and physical health issues, as well as counseling.

A lot of times, drug users “act under emotion, not on thinking a situation through,’’ Grahek said.

Drug checks 3-4 times a week for meth use can help participants stay clean, while counseling and weekly drug court sessions can help keep them involved, he said. “It provides a structured environment that drug addicts need.’’

The meth onslaught has affected more rural areas, and in 24 years as a counselor, “it’s exploded all over,’’ Grahek said. “I’ve never seen it as bad.’’

Working with persons with alcohol situations, some with 25-year addictions, is more common; he doesn’t see 25-year meth addicts, as “they die or something else happens,’’ he said.

Grahek said he was a substance abuser himself years ago, and could have spent the rest of his life in hospitals, emergency rooms or treatment centers, but for the last 25 years, “I’ve been a productive taxpayer,’’ helping others with dependency issues.

One positive aspect for officials is seeing little steps made on the road to recovery. Occasions where fellow participants, on learning a defendant has stayed drug-free for 30 days, are ones “that are celebrated,’’ Nyquist said.

While law officers and court persons may see repeaters back in the system, for a counselor, Grahek said, “I get to see the people that make it.’’


Anonymous Anonymous said...

patrick grahek is the coolest!!!!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008 1:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. nice blog.Hopefully, this does not come across as spam, but rather a heartfelt reach out to the thousands of addicts/alcoholics who struggle every year with relapse and depression, which has become all too common within the recovery movement. With some hard work and self-discipline, using the program mentioned above, I feel no one ever has to relapse again.please advice them to take a drug treament program.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 10:49:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home