SPARTA—The Monroe County Board of Supervisors gave its full support for the creation of a county-run drug court during the board’s monthly meeting Wednesday.

The decision comes a month after Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Rick Radcliffe gave a presentation on the topic at the board’s May meeting.

The board was unanimous in its support.

Justice programs coordinator Eric Weihe said the purpose of the drug court is to “break the cycle of addiction for high-risk individuals to hopefully be able to get their children back, reduce CHIPS cases, to have them become a stable member of the community, get employment and contribute to society.”

Radcliffe said backers of the drug court are trying to assist the people in the county who need help.

“We’re not doing a good enough job right now because people are still suffering, they’re still coming in and out of our jails, they’re not getting the treatment that they need,” Radcliffe said. “We have great employees in this county, a great district attorney. This drug court is going to be the model in Western Wisconsin, I can promise you that.”

The drug court is only part of the solution, Radcliffe said, and added the drug problem can’t be solved by the court system and law enforcement alone. He said everyone needs to work together.

“This sends a message that in Monroe County we’re going to take it seriously, we’re going to be smart about how we approach this, we’re going to help people that need our help,” he said. “This is not just about creating a drug court, it’s about starting the discussion within our community about how to help some of these people.”

Methamphetamine is the biggest drug problem in the county, Radcliffe said. He said while the drug isn’t being manufactured locally but, people in Monroe County are still dealing with its aftermath. He said people need to remember those who become addicted are neighbors, friends and family.

Supervisor Mary Von Ruden said there’s no reason why the county shouldn’t support the drug court.

“Yes, it’s going to cost money to have the people, but when they enter the jails and prisons and everything because we lost faith in them, it’s going to cost us a lot more,” she said. “This is real, and we’ve let this go on way too long. We should have been working at this a long time ago.”

In other business the board approved two resolutions relating to the drug court — increasing the Justice Department’s administrative assistant position from part-time to full-time. The other resolution established a drug court case manager position.

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.


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