Tester Announces Over $700,000 in Grants to Expand Cascade County's Drug Treatment Court

(Great Falls, Mont.) – As part of his ongoing effort to combat drug addiction and abuse throughout the state, Senator Jon Tester and District Judge Greg Pinski announced over $700,000 in funding to expand Cascade Count’s Drug Treatment Court today.

“Drug abuse is not just a crime, it’s a disease,” Tester said. “We can’t just throw the book at addicts and expect their troubles to go away. That’s why these initiatives are so important and effective-they don’t just address the symptoms of addiction, they treat the underlying cause.”

The Montana Eighth Judicial District Drug Treatment Court, located in Great Falls, will receive $300,000 in funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance as well as a $403,254 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The funds will be used to expand access to substance abuse treatment, medication-assisted resources, housing, and other resources to lower recidivism rates.

“Drugs affect every Great Falls neighborhood, and taking steps to reduce the growing epidemic is critical,” said Judge Greg Pinski, who presides over the drug treatment court. “These grants will make a dramatic impact on reducing drug crimes, treating addiction, and providing jobs and housing to those in recovery.”

The drug treatment court is a court program managed by a multidisciplinary team that responds to offenses and treatment needs of participants who have a drug addiction. Drug treatment courts enable a participant’s likelihood of successful rehabilitation through early, continuous, and intense judicially-supervised treatment; mandatory periodic drug testing; community supervision; appropriate sanctions and other services.

“Through Senator Tester’s support of these invaluable initiatives, we’re able to focus on the rehabilitation of non-violent drug offenders, reducing recidivism, and saving taxpayer dollars while providing individuals with a meaningful chance at a productive life,” Pinski said.

Tester has been a strong advocate for these types of rehabilitation efforts, announcing $600,000 for similar drug treatment court programs in Havre and Billings this past September. Tester also announced an additional $300,000 for Great Falls’ veterans treatment court back in 2014 and visited with Judge Pinski and the program’s participants later that year.

Tester has also introduced the Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts Act, which would establish and fund similar kinds of treatment programs in Indian Country. In July, Tester voted to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which provides funding and support to combat drug abuse and opioid addiction across the country.