Oklahoma Drug Court is facing cuts to outpatient services

Oklahoma Drug Court is facing cuts to outpatient services

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO)- The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse says that due to budget cuts, they may soon have to cut all outpatient services - including the Oklahoma Drug Court.

The program has been around since 1995 and provides treatment for those convicted of drug possession, instead of incarceration.  According to the department, most people who go through the program are successful - more than 75-percent stay out of jail after going through the program.

"Best thing that ever happened to me. The judge that we go in front of, the drug court judge, this guy's amazing. He cares and it comes out that he truly cares… It gave me an opportunity, it kept me going long enough to see what my life would be like without the mess and the drugs and the alcohol," said Brian Wheeler, a drug court participant.

The agency says the average cost of drug court is $4,000 per person, per year - compared to incarceration, which costs around $19,000 per year.
A spokesperson says they have already begun the process of shutting down the drug court program.

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