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Crow Wing County leads state for successful completion of drug court

Crow Wing County reported it leads the state in drug court participants successfully completing drug court.

Of the 62 participants who have been discharged from Crow Wing County Drug Court 48 completed the program. This 77 percent graduation rate is the highest in the state. In comparison, the statewide graduation rate from drug court is 54 percent. “Drug Court completers are less likely to commit new offenses, more likely to improve overall community functioning and less likely to be incarcerated during and after drug court,” said Tami Lueck, who supervises chemical dependency services for Crow Wing County. “We are pleased to see our county significantly exceeding state averages with the drug court model.”

The mission of the Crow Wing County Drug Court is to enhance public safety by decreasing criminal recidivism through community supported, judicially supervised treatment of substance abuse. The first drug court in Minnesota started in Hennepin County in 1996. Drug courts include a judge, prosecutors, defense counsel, treatment providers, probation officers, law enforcement and other community leaders working together with the defendant to address their addiction and recovery. Crow Wing County Drug Court started in June 2006 and has served 80 offenders. Currently, Drug Court is serving 23 participants.

Lueck said the county drug court model also demonstrated success in other key measures for those dealing with chemical dependency issues. Persons interested in viewing the data can go to: and see the most recent statewide evaluation of drug courts.

Among the data:

■ Crow Wing County drug court participants who completed the program had no new offenses while participating in the county program.

■ 88 percent of all participants had 2 1/2 years or more from the start of the drug court program with no new offense.

■ 89 percent of participants were employed upon discharge from the program.

■ 74 percent of participants had stable housing upon discharge, compared to 39 percent upon entry into the program.

Melanie Quillin, a social worker with the Crow Wing County Community Services Department Chemical Dependency unit, stated the program’s success is due, in part, to its holistic approach to assisting people.

“The unique team approach with goals not only focused on sobriety but other factors that impact a person’s life such as housing, employment, relationships and education, lead to the program’s success,” Quillin said.

Quillin encouraged people interested in more information about drug court or chemical dependency services offered in Crow Wing County to call Chemical Dependency Intake, at Crow Wing County Community Services at 824-1140 or visit the website at

Crow Wing County Community Services provides chemical dependency services to more than 300 adults each year.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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