In 2019, the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy and the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy determined that fentanyl and fentanyl equivalent substances, were the most lethal drug, contributing to more than half of all overdose deaths. The data also showed a rise in the number of methamphetamine cases in Kentucky. In fact, the data shows that methamphetamine submissions are now making up the majority of the cases sent to the Kentucky State Police for forensic lab tests (for more information click here).
A majority of all cases prosecuted within the 15th Circuit are specific drug crimes or the result of drug abuse.
The 15th Circuit Rocket Docket program has been grant funded since 2018. Our office averages over 100 cases per year in the Rocket Docket Program. The Rocket Docket program focuses on non-violent, felony drug offenders. By expediting non-violent felony drug cases through the judicial system, this greatly reduces incarceration periods and makes intensive out-patient and residential substance abuse treatment available almost immediately to the offenders. The rocket docket program reduces the financial burden on the county tax payers, saving thousands of dollars that would otherwise be spent on housing these offenders. The program reduces the amount of time police officers spend in court and greatly reduces the burden on the Kentucky State Police Laboratories in forensic laboratory testing.
In 2019, the 15th Judicial Circuit received a federal grant to start a Drug Court program. Drug Court, serves non-violent, high-risk, high-needs offenders whose main problems stem from substance abuse. This court-managed treatment program provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional criminal case processing. The 15th Circuit currently has 8 participants and can allow at least approximately 30 participants at any given time. Drug Court works with those charged with non-violent offenses related to substance abuse and combines intensive supervision with substance-abuse treatment. First Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Roberts works with the Drug Court Coordinator, Circuit Court Judge, Department of Public Advocacy, Division of Probation and Parole, North Key Community Care, and other law enforcement and professional representatives within the Circuit that make up the 15th Circuit Drug Court team. It takes accepted participants an average of 22 to 25 months to complete the program’s three phases and aftercare.
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